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Tamorph

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    Is the Universe alive? I believe it possibly is.
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    BSc (Hons)
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    Cosmology

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  1. In the question of 'Are Stars Alive' the fundamental debate is really about what constitutes life. Smollin's 'Cosmological Natural Selection' via black holes has already been mentioned, but he is only one of a growing number of scientists with differing theories about life within the wider cosmos. Some others are listed below. Physicist D.B. Kelly's 'Universal Selection' hypothesis says that natural selection applies to everything, including the whole universe. Physysist Wojciech Zurek's theory of 'Quantum Darwinism' adds to the pre-exisisting theory of 'Universal Darwinism'. His published papers show that 'survival of the fittest' exists within subatomic particles. (Further info on zurek frim his Los Alamos National Laboratory page ) Professor Julius Rebek's theory is that survival of the fittest applies to chemical processes (papers available from Scripps Research Institute ) Philosophy professor Carol Cleland of the University of Colorado, has coined the phrase 'Shadow Biosphere' and hypothesises that the ribosomes that are at the heart of all molecular architecture of life as we know it were themselves subject to natural variation on the early Earth. By extension, there may be different variations elsewhere, or even on Earth, that we would not necessarily recognise as being alive. (Available papers include her summary of many definitions of life in her paper 'life without definitions')
  2. That's quite an assumption, but may be untrue. We tend to search for other life forms that work in the same way as life on Earth, and that's understandable because it's the only type of life form we know. However (as this is in the 'speculation' section) let's speculate about some completely different forms of life. Example One: Instead of seeing growth, movement, and energy use in terms of our time-scale, what would we look for if 'live things' lived a life like ours but over millions of years. Growth may be extremely slow, movements may be only a fraction of an inch every few years, power generated would be imperceivable. Just because the human race has not lived long enough to see something move, reproduce, generate power, etc. we can't just assume that something is dead. Humans have only been around for a relatively short time. If something lived for tens of millions of years we may see it as inanimate during our lifetime. Example Two: Similarly, if something has a lifetime of only a millionth of a millionth of a second we wouldn't be aware of that either. In order to consider all the possibilities of 'alien' life we need to think outside of our constraints of 'Earth' life. A life lived for millions of millions of years, with slow metabolism, would be invisible to us as 'life'. A life lived for only a millionth of a millionth of a second, with resulting quick metabolism, would also be effectively invisible to us as 'life'. I write as someone who has had a 'pet rock' since the pet rock craze in the 1970's (complete with a drawn face). I swear it's moved several times over the the past forty years and I once found it in the trash, but my wife swears she never put it there!
  3. If you mean how do you compile the software on the above Github site, if you scroll down the above page there is a 'read me' that includes details of what software you need to compile it and how to do it. If you mean, how do you use GIT itself to actually download the software, there is a free downloadable GIT book available from http://git-scm.com/book
  4. Yea! Right! That's simply untrue. I don't know any reputable scientist who doesn't say what they think. You've only got to look at some of the crackpot ideas floated on forums like this. Provided you can make a valid argument you can push any hypothesis you like, correct or not. All theories and facts first began with unproven hypotheses, and nobody is afraid of political or any other sort of correctness other than scientific correctness. We care about things being provably correct. Political correctness is not an issue.
  5. Astrobiology is the study of the origins, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe, and the SETI Institute ( Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) has details of the 2008 Astrobiology Conference at http://abscicon.seti.org/ The conference itself was held in April 2008 in Santa Clara, California, and the above link contains links to the full pdf text of all the various 39 session papers of the conference. The figure of 280 definitions of life came out of that conference. I'm afraid I haven't got the time (nor the inclination) to try and explain all those 280 different definitions of life to you. There is just too much information and even to sumarise it would take too long (sorry I've got a life!) I suggest that anyone interested, and who does have the time, could follow the above link and read all the academic papers. If you do want a shortened version, and if you have access to a decent academic library, there is a shorter article about the Astrobiology Conference in the 'New Scientist' Magazine dated 18 april 2008
  6. There are estimated to be over 280 scientific definitions of life on record!
  7. Then you have certainly never met anyone suffering from it. We all have highs and lows in our lives. Times of feeling good and times of feeling down. When we are up, our body stops us feeling we are invincible by chemically bringing us down to earth. When we are down, our body stops us feeling suicidal by chemically lifting our spirits. These chemical reactions keep most people just slightly higher or lower than average. In bipolar disorder this controlling mechanism is defective and the mood swings are much greater than normal. In a manic phase a sufferer can rationally give up work because they 'know' they are going to win the lottery, or they can take on the world knowing they are 'right' and the rest of the world is wrong. In their depressive state a sufferer can feel personally responsible for all the worlds ills. They 'know' the world will be a better place without them. So bipolar disorder is the normal feelings of life, but taken to extremes. At either extreme the consequences for the sufferer, and their families, can be devastating. Thankfully the chemical imbalance can usually be countered effectively via medication. Why medication sometimes doesn't work is because the sufferer doesn't see the need to take it. When they are manic, they don't think they need to be cured. When they are depressed, they don't think they deserve to be cured.
  8. And he is only one among many scientists thinking along the same lines.
  9. And here's me thinking the question " ... how to tell the difference between colors?" was about colors.
  10. No! No! No! Please don't tell me there are no invisible dragons. I'm Welsh, and a big red dragon is our national symbol. Rubbish my hypothesis that the universe may be living by all means. That's only a hypothesis. But dragons are fact man. Red dragons particularly.
  11. Thanks for that, I thought I was going through a generally accepted list. I have never claimed the hypothesis id 'evidently' true, only that it is 'possible'. By saying that it is not possible (and I assume you have conducted scientific experiments on the whole universe) you deserve the credit of all your inferior peers. I look forward to seeing your proof in the next edition of 'Nature'. I know my hypothesis is a published theory, but unproven. You know better and can factually prove my hypothesis is rubbish so I can't wait to read your scientific paper and peer review.
  12. There is nothing 'obvious' about it. The above statement is unscientific. 1.Homeostatsis The universe is a highly regulated environment. there are many scientific examples. For example, the almost constant temperature of space, and the uniformity created by gravity. 2.Organization or being composed of one or more cells. The word 'cell' was coined in the 1600's and 'cell theory' was developed in the 1800's, but our knowledge of cells is still far from complete. There is a striking correlation between the vastly different types of cells and the vastly different types of planets. 3.Metabolism There are many physical and chemical transformations within cells. There are also many physical and chemical transformations in our planet. Tectonic plates are still moving, volcano's are still erupting, and we are also changing the Earth's atmosphere. We also know that there is physical and chemical transformations occurring throughout the universe. 4.Growth The universe still appears to be expanding. The Earth is also growing in size and volume, from dust from meteors attracted by our gravity. 5.Adaptation We adapt to our external environment. With our current state of knowledge we do not know what is external to our universe. It follows that we cannot therefore know if our universe is adapting itself to anything external. If it was, this would in any event be likely to happen over such a long time scale that we would be unaware of it. 6.Response to stimuli. The answer to this is similar to point 5. 7.Reproduction If there is a 'multiverse' and if universes come and go over long periods of time, the theory that new universes are born out of old ones is quite a reasonable one. Summary: None of the above is proof that the universe is alive, but points 1 to 4 are all scientifically possible (some would say probable). Points 5 to 7 are not provable either way, but saying something is not provable is a world away from saying that it is not possible. The truth is that we just don't know. I don't know whether the universe is alive, but I choose to believe in the possibility. You don't know whether the universe is alive, but you choose to believe it is impossible. I believe my belief is more scientifically valid (but no doubt you will soon correct me!)
  13. "The atom, instead of being just the little hard solid particle of the original view, was a very complex thing, comparable in complexity with the solar system" (Joseph John Thomson the English physicist who discovered the electron - lecture given 8 March 1928) “One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.” (UK scientist James E Lovelock who has conducted research at both Yale and Harvard. He formulated his Gaia theory in the early 1960’s whilst he was working for NASA. The above quote is from an interview he gave in 2012) Inside your body there is an atom that makes up your heart muscle. If that atom had an eye and and ear and some measure of intellect, would it be able to work out why it was there? I think not (but have no proof). It would simply see a group of similar atoms, but would know little else. Let's move up a little to the heart muscle itself. If that muscle had an eye and ear and some intellect, would it be able to work out why it was there? I think not (but have no proof). It would simply be aware that other muscles were moving in unison, but would have no idea why. et's move up even further and look at the heart as a whole. The heart is pumping the fluid that enters it, but does it know why? I think not (but have no proof). The heart could have little or no concept of the person that is you. No concept of the complexity of the human body and mind in its entirety, No concept of its vital function to life. It would be aware of the influence of chemical and electrical impulses compelling it to beat faster or slower, but would have no concept of why. If that is true on a small level, is it not possible that our solar system is simply a part of a living universe? I think so, but have no proof. It is, though, a simple enough concept that is not unscientific, and is a question that several well known scientists have asked before. It is a simply hypothetical question, which is where most science starts out from.
  14. I've obviously missed something or been misunderstood. I thought this thread was entitled "Could the Universe be alive?" "Could the Universe be alive?" is the only idea I've written about on this thread. My opinion is that the universe is alive, but there is no evidential proof either way. How is that an idea that should be in another thread? It is entirely consistent with this thread.
  15. There is a free book on GIT downloadable from http://git-scm.com/book I would recommend you download it then register (free) on github.com other users on that site will be able to provide you with free help.
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