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Author Topic: Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?  (Read 4705 times)

Offline taupo19

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I'm interested in cycles - As far as we can tell does life on earth seem to have a cycle? It certainly had a beginning so I would assume it has a middle and an end? We are in the middle so when's the end? I wonder if life will last until the Sun toasts Earth?

Bit of a ramble and not quite Astronomy but close?

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« Last Edit: 24/05/2009 22:26:29 by chris »


 

Offline Vern

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My guess is that we will manage to destroy ourselves before the toasting event. But there is an outside chance that humanity might advance to a stage that could exist in fabricated space colonies and so survive the solar system.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #2 on: 24/05/2009 22:48:21 »
The way we are going at the moment it certainly looks quite probable but mankind is very adaptable and survivable.  The truth is it's anybody's guess.
 

Offline taupo19

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #3 on: 24/05/2009 23:26:26 »
My question is more whether life has a natural cycle rather then whether we'll blow ourselves up or hasten our own demise through environmental damage. Hard to discuss I know but interesting no?

Does life have a cycle - and I mean all life here not just Human kind. It seems to me that if life starts without divine in intervention then it's probable there's a middle and an end too?
 

Offline JnA

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #4 on: 25/05/2009 06:20:09 »
while there are life cycles (individual) as a group there is no cycle IMO. The very nature of a species is to reproduce reproduce reproduce. Therefore there is no 'end' if creatures follow their natural instinct.
Having said that our sun seems to have a finite existence, so on that scale there will be an end.. and it shall be spectacular to watch..
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #5 on: 25/05/2009 08:50:14 »
life on this planet will probably only end when conditions become unsuitable for it in about 1000 million years time.
 

Offline taupo19

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #6 on: 25/05/2009 11:14:32 »
Thank you for all your replies -
Something  that occurs to me - The assumption seems to be that once life has begun then it is permanent until destroyed? (Is this not a conceit as we can't imagine a planet returning to a lifeless state other then through destruction?)If this is the case then surely the Universe would be crawling with life? (As it may be I guess) I'm one of the people that believes that our Sun and planet may well be fairly typical and the conditions for life reasonably common (In all it's extremities - deep vent thermal bacteria anyone?) Life seems to be an experiment could it not be a failed experiment ultimately?  Is it feasible that life can evolve itself to the point where it naturally disappears? One of the contributors to this thread suggested there is no mega cycle with life - how do we know? - We've only had this one go.

Is this too speculative for this forum?
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #7 on: 25/05/2009 11:17:38 »
Is this too speculative for this forum?
:)
Don't worry, I've heard better ones yet (by better I mean crazy).
 

Offline taupo19

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #8 on: 25/05/2009 11:21:56 »
Thanks - I find it so fascinating - great to share my ideas -
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #9 on: 25/05/2009 23:42:06 »
Remember that there is a big difference between intelligent life like us and basic life like simple bacteria which can survive in a very wide range of hostile environments.

There is also the possibility that intelligent life may some day design self replicating mechanical "life" that could survive under very extreme conditions notably fully exposed to space.  If we are ever visited by alien creations I consider it is more likely to be robotic than its original organic form.
 

Offline taupo19

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #10 on: 26/05/2009 16:15:56 »
Thanks for your answers - very interesting. Why distinguish between amoeba and humans? - I understand that various species have a much better resistance to harsh environments then us delicate humans but I think of life as life and as long as there's one little iota of stubborn life floating around then we could restart the whole shebang no?

 Mechanically replicating life? Why not? I still think that even mechanics would have a cycle.

Does everyone really think that once life has a 'toe' hold that it will continue until destroyed? Is that idea popular because we can't imagine life just evolving itself out of existence? Say a long series of dead ends? After all what other examples of life do we have to go by apart from our own planet. It would be interesting to discover a sterile planet which previously had life and there was no obvious cause of the reason it ended.

Last question - "99% of all species that ever lived have become extinct" - anyone verify this??



 
 

Offline Vern

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #11 on: 26/05/2009 18:43:55 »
Quote from: Soul Surfer
There is also the possibility that intelligent life may some day design self replicating mechanical "life" that could survive under very extreme conditions notably fully exposed to space.  If we are ever visited by alien creations I consider it is more likely to be robotic than its original organic form.
Very interesting; I think you're probably right. Given the vast distances between star systems, this seems much more likely than a visit from living creatures.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #12 on: 26/05/2009 19:25:22 »
Given that the Earth did not suffer some catastrophic disaster and it maintained the same conditions then no I don't think life would ever cease to exist, why would it? Everything isn't just going to drop dead for no reason.

Maybe life could have died out naturally very early on in evolution when all of the life on Earth was contained within one pond, and maybe it did a few times over before it managed to spread and diversify enough that it wasn't likely to be stopped.
 

Offline taupo19

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #13 on: 26/05/2009 22:07:04 »
I guess when you say "Life just wouldn't drop dead why would it?" I kind of think that there might be some kind of natural cycle involved. Asking why would it? makes me think Why would it start? Unless life is a natural very common occurrence then why would it start? Discounting a 'God' theory then it would seem to be just something that happens - am I being too simplistic? Somehow after millions of experiments - life eventually did kick off and is progressing along an evolutionary path - I'm wondering if life will simply evolve itself out of existence one day? - We have a natural resistance to this idea as we think ourselves important to the Universe some how but I think that maybe the Universe doesn't really care. :)
 

Offline JnA

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #14 on: 27/05/2009 01:22:34 »
Things don't have to be cyclical they can be linear or random. We are not 'following a path' of evolution. That suggests there is a 'known' factor, evolution is random, in its entirety.
There is a certain arrogance in humans about our importance 'in the scheme of things' however it is pertinent to remember that we *have* adapted our environment in a way that no other species on this planet has, a little arrogance is understandable.. but I suspect you're correct in your last assertion.



They're made out of Meat

by Terry Bisson

"They're made out of meat."

"Meat?"

"Meat. They're made out of meat."

"Meat?"

"There's no doubt about it. We picked several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."

"That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars."

"They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."

"So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."

"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."

"That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."

"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in the sector and they're made out of meat."

"Maybe they're like the Orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."

"Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take too long. Do you have any idea the life span of meat?"

"Spare me. Okay, maybe they're only part meat. You know, like the Weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside."

"Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads like the Weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They're meat all the way through."

"No brain?"

"Oh, there is a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat!"

"So... what does the thinking?"

"You're not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat."

"Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you getting the picture?"

"Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."

"Finally, Yes. They are indeed made out meat. And they've been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years."

"So what does the meat have in mind?"

"First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the universe, contact other sentients, swap ideas and information. The usual."

"We're supposed to talk to meat?"

"That's the idea. That's the message they're sending out by radio. 'Hello. Anyone out there? Anyone home?' That sort of thing."

"They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?"

"Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat."

"I thought you just told me they used radio."

"They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."

"Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"

"Officially or unofficially?"

"Both."

"Officially, we are required to contact, welcome, and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in the quadrant, without prejudice, fear, or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing."

"I was hoping you would say that."

"It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?"

"I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say?" `Hello, meat. How's it going?' But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?"

"Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can't live on them. And being meat, they only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact."

"So we just pretend there's no one home in the universe."

"That's it."

"Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you have probed? You're sure they won't remember?"

"They'll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we're just a dream to them."

"A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat's dream."

"And we can mark this sector unoccupied."

"Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?"

"Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotations ago, wants to be friendly again."

"They always come around."

"And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the universe would be if one were all alone."



 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #15 on: 27/05/2009 05:23:24 »
Haha, thanks for bring that up. :)
 

Offline taupo19

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #16 on: 27/05/2009 10:53:52 »
This thread is becoming diverse - I like it  :)  when you say things don't have to be cyclical can you name something that is not? On a maxi level - the universe starts and finishes -(we think). Life is born  - on a personal level - and finishes - dust to dust and all that. Stars are created and finish - though I'm not sure what the ultimate state of say - a brown dwarf is - do they continue to change until a black hole or The Big Crunch comes along? Evolution is not a cycle? It would seem to me that it is endless cycles that constantly start and finish and luck allows particular cycles to survive (for longer). The human cycle started - what 5-6 million years ago? There is nothing in the earth's history that would suggest that we will continue forever. I agree that we can adapt our environment to help us along the path and maybe we are unique in this but (Idle speculation here) there could be  - say - a genetic reason we fail ultimately? Sterile males anybody? I started this thread because everywhere I looked I saw cycles and it made me wonder if we were on our own cycle. The funny exert above (thanks for that) could be written as a visit to 'Earth' and the discovery of a civilisation and life system that had disappeared. Maybe leaving the nest and striking our is the only way of prolonging the cycle -

This is becoming a saga!

 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #17 on: 27/05/2009 11:06:49 »
This thread is becoming diverse - I like it 
Haha, I bet you won't say that in a few weeks!  ;D
 

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Will life on Earth destroy itself before the Sun engulfs us?
« Reply #17 on: 27/05/2009 11:06:49 »

 

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