Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Cartoon
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
By the way... there's a crossword at the bottom of this page
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Pondering Life Here and Elsewhere
Much is being made of the finding of amino acids in a meteorite. Proof, it is said, that life is likely elsewhere in the universe. I have never doubted that. I grew up believing that there were planets around stars and that life was as likely to form on any (or all) of them as it had been here on Earth. No one taught me this directly, as far as I can recall, it just seemed logical to me. Unlike some, I saw no reason to believe in UFO's because of this. In fact, as time went on, I tended to believe that what we call "intelligent" life might be rare or even non-existent on any of these imagined planets.
To be honest, I am not sure intelligent life exists here on Earth.
We could just be fooling ourselves by proclaiming ourselves intelligent. After all, what is our standard for that? Mostly, I think, is that we talk. Out loud. And we build things from other things and use these to build even more things. But I suppose there is more to it than simple communication and tool-making.
Still, I read paragraphs such as this one and I wonder...
"As to how the amino acids got into space: they did not form in space, but were carried into space. The event that carried them was the ejection of the asteroid, along with vast quantities of water, rock and mud, into space from earth. That in turn resulted from the breach of a subcrustal ocean at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, that resulted in the Global Flood. Findings like these are only to be expected, as was the finding of Comet Hartley 2 with its cyanide jets last month." [Amino Acids in meteorites: real implications]
Since when were asteroids ejected from the Earth? I am vainly trying to remember anyone ever trying to teach me that. And it is written with such authority. I suppose that can be forgiven. It was written by a guy who (a) believes in Creationism and (b) is not actually a professional writer or a scientist.
Not that I am knocking those that believe in Creationism. Far from it. I am no scientist either (nor a professional writer... that should be obvious), I just try to look at things in an objective and logical manner.
Carbon dating says the planet (our planet, that is) is some 4.5 Billion years old. Carbon dating has been shown to be fairly accurate. That reveals a bit of a gap between the 6000 year age of the planet that Creationists believe and what science has measured. And that is just for starters.
I found an interesting article, done quite humorously by one Ricky Gervais [A Holiday Message from Ricky Gervais] explaining why he is an atheist. It was in the Wall Street Journal, of all places. It must have received a lot of attention since there is a follow up article wherein he answers some questions sent into the WSJ about his position. [Does God Exist?]
In the original article, Gervais reveals he had an epiphany when he was 8 years old; that it took him about an hour to go from being a good Christian child to being an atheist. Interestingly, he then realized that the story of Santa Claus was problematic.
But I have wandered off my point, haven't I? You may not know that, since I have not revealed my point yet, but I have.
The existence of extraterrestrial life has always been pretty obvious to me. Well, starting from the day I learned that the sun is a star. And not an especially unique one. And then I learned about galaxies and how many there might be. And then I learned about how far away we are from (a) the center of our galaxy and (b) from the center of the Universe. These last two things made believing in Creationism a bit tough for me. And once you toss that out, well...
But I like the way Gervais tells his story. Much better than my own, I'd say.
It is nice to know that we can ask these questions without being dragged off to some hellish torture chamber and made to recant, though.