Posts Tagged ‘time’

DOES LIFE EXIST BEYOND OUR SOLAR SYSTEM?

October 3, 2014

What is required for life to exist on our planet is extremely complex, intricately balanced and fine-tuned in relation to the size and position of the earth, the sun and other planets, size and position of our moon, our planet’s magnetosphere and various atmospheric layers, the abundance of water, various oceanic and weather patterns and even the temperature, size and properties of the earth’s inner core.  And, this is only a small fraction of the balanced complex reality necessary for our existence.

Because of this, some scientists still insist life may be extremely rare in the universe.  But it appears exo-planets may far outnumber the stars and today, many if not most scientists believe life is probably abundant in the cosmos.  Perhaps few of us stop to consider how truly different, diverse and complex life in the larger universal reality, may in fact be.

Most books and films featuring aliens assume beings more intelligent than ourselves would have superior technology and travel in advanced starships, which isn’t necessarily true.  They are often portrayed as creatures prone to violence and oppression like ourselves, which also isn’t necessarily true.

Human technology arises out of our specific needs for survival. While other forms of life on earth build webs, nests and some even use sticks as tools, what is called “technology” is essentially viewed as being unique to humans. If food was easily and readily available and there was no violence or daily struggle to survive, human technology might not have ever arisen on earth.

Where there is no farming or struggle to eat, there may be no concept of a wheel or plow.  Where there’s no hunting for food and no war, there may be no concept of a knife, spear, bow and arrow or other basic implements at the root of our technology.

Would forms of life more intelligent than ourselves necessarily have any concept of science and education? Would they wear clothing or need to build structures to protect themselves from the elements in a perhaps far less hostile environment?  We can’t even begin to imagine what life would be like without violence and a daily struggle for food, shelter and protection.

At least one scientist has proposed life might exist on giant gas planets, hovering in the atmosphere with no need of a solid surface.  We often assume far too much based on our own tiny window of experience.  The experience of intelligent beings on other worlds may be far different than our own.

We know life on earth is incredibly complex and diverse, even among microbial kingdoms. We can only wonder what it might be like to live on a world far less violent and prone to disease, starvation and death than our own.  Given the abundance and complexity of life on earth and the size and scope of the universe, we can only marvel and remain in awe of the infinite possibilities.

Perhaps a better question is, what might life elsewhere be like?

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CAN CHARLES DARWIN BE TRUSTED?

April 3, 2014

Historical people, like the rest of us, sometimes contradict themselves and often change their minds over time.  It is generally fair to conclude what scientists say in their older age represents their true lifetime professional opinion, rather than what they might have said when they were younger.

Human language definition often changes over historical time and words sometimes develop multiple meanings.  To be fair and accurate, one must consider how words were defined when they were spoken, rather than how those same words might be defined today.  Careful historians apply a discipline called “philology” to help understand human language in historical context.

For example, broad-brushing the American founders as “deists”, a consistent bad habit of modern educators, is a historical lie.  The majority ascribed to some form of Christianity and, the very few who claimed to be deists apparently believed God hears prayers and interacts with human affairs.  There is no evidence any American founder was a deist as the term is normally defined today.

Charles Darwin, in the opening sentences of his final revision of “On The Origin of Species”, is humble enough to credit our Creator for being behind whatever universal processes and reality there may be. This edition was published about five years prior to Darwin’s death and thus, it represents a lifetime conclusion.

Some ‘scholars’ today, pretending they can somehow know Darwin’s intentions, claim that he only mentioned God to make his wife and family happy and to otherwise appease the religious leaders of his day.  Because Darwin throughout his lifetime consistently openly debated with religious leaders and others concerning his ideas, such a claim has no historical merit.  One might fairly ask, if we can’t trust Darwin regarding this most fundamental of human beliefs, how can we trust anything else he said?

Perhaps Darwin made no mention of our Creator in his first edition because the overwhelming evidence for creation was agreed to by the vast majority of scholars of his time.  Maybe only after the publishing of his theories had caused considerable controversy, did Darwin then find it necessary to place our Creator where he, like Einstein and Jefferson apparently believed God belongs, far above all human science, reason and understanding.

In a letter published two years before his death, Darwin strongly denies being an atheist, saying his mind was “mainly agnostic but not entirely”.  Because agnostic at that time sometimes referred to distrust in religion and human claims about God, rather than questioning God’s existence, Darwin could attest to our Creator and still remain agnostic but not entirely without contradiction.

Is it fair to pretend one of human history’s greatest scientists can’t be trusted to be honest regarding what he fundamentally believed?  Is it fair to just arbitrarily ignore various words ascribed to Jefferson, Einstein and Darwin because modern liars don’t like what they actually said? Is it fair to speak for historical people, rather than allowing their own words to speak for them?

Can Charles Darwin be trusted?  You decide.

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