"Alien Edens" ----Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins: 'Life Exists Elsewhere in the Universe'
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December 28, 2012

"Alien Edens" ----Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins: 'Life Exists Elsewhere in the Universe'

 

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It's no accident that we see stars in the sky, says famed Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins: they are a vital part of any universe capable of generating us. But, as Dawkins emphasizes, that does not mean that stars exists in order to make us."It is just that without stars there would be no atoms heavier than lithium in the periodic table," Dawkins wrote in The Ancestors Tale -- A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution, "and a chemistry of only three elements is too impoverished to support life. Seeing is the kind of activity that can go on only in the kind of universe where what you see is stars."

"It's an astonishing stroke of luck that we are here." That was Dawkins' evolutionary message at a recent speech to a packed auditorium at the Christchurch, New Zealand. "Every animal owes its existence to an astonishing list of contingencies that might not have happened. With so much chance and luck it might be thought that evolution itself is a process of pure chance, but nothing could be further from the truth."

It was predictable, for example, that eyes and ears would develop in different species, and they had done so independently several times over, Dawkins said. "Natural selection is the great engine of the predictable side of life, but it cannot start without certain prerequisites."

Dawkins said it was his gut feeling that there has been another stroke of luck that would have developed life elsewhere in the Universe.

"There are billions and billions of planets out there, so there could be millions of planets that have life on them, but the origin of life could still be a staggeringly good stroke of luck," he said.

To Richard Dawkins believing in God is like believing in a teapot orbiting Mars. Dawkins said that a sense of gratitude had developed as an essential part of human societies. This meant humans had an overwhelming desire to give thanks, even when there was no-one to give thanks to and this, in part, had given rise to religion. 

Dawkins sees himself as a "religious non-believer" who's career has revolved around Darwin's view that all was 'produced by laws acting around us' described so powerfully by Darwin in the Origin of the Species:

"Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving -- namely, the production of the higher animals -- directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

Casey Kazan


http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch/3438156/Stroke-of-luck-led-to-life-on-Earth
Posted at 12:16 AM | Permalink

Comments

I think that life can be everywhere, there may even be there multi-cellular lfie forms in mars in some udner ground pockets, like here on Earth, there are many pockets that have been isolated from the outside world, where lfie have developed in a unique way that you don't find anywhere else in the world, each pocket had a unique evolution path.
Life doesnt have to be like we know or femeliar to ours, it can even based on Methan(wich acts just like water on Earth, but on the moon Titan), so there may even be life in our own solar system, or even more different life forms in some deep very large caves deep underground that are indiscovered, and the possibily for that is not impossible, and the most propable complex life that may exist there if existed, would be marine.

On the other hand, to beleive evolution, doesnt mean to deny God, so what? God created the unvinerse, and it's law including evolution, wich is a tool for organisms to survive and adapt, survival, ain't that everything's rule?
& saying that he is a relegiously non-beleiver, wich is still pretty much relegious to me, a beleive in Darwin that is, that is the same as for the creationist.
I'm not an evolutionist nor a creationist, because I beleive in both, God created the laws of the universe and etc... an automatic universe, you may even call it a calculated luck (meanign not a random luck, just a choice among many options of the program), so I don't think that things that we can't calculate and understand how it works, or at least not yet, doesn't mean that they are random and luck, I mean, people living in the dark ages.

I think it is very much naiive to call everything we don't understand as luck, the whole universe should be mathematicly logical, all what happened after the bigbang wich is called luck, would happen like it just did, because it's the laws of the universe and it's physics that allows that to happen.
I think that the unvierse is like an equation, just because we don't understand it, or we don't understand many parts of it, doesnt mean it is magic or sorcery.

About God, I don't think that God is human, nor an alien, in fact, something that we can't even imagine, call it what you want, energy, power, or "the more" that we don't know and we can't understand.
You simply don't have luck in maths and equations, or let's say programs, you only have, say options, choices, etc.

As for creationist who says humans didn't evolve in anyway, not even from a different ancestory, I say why not? What's the problem with that?
& we have to be sure, that the universe is full with living worlds, galaxies, and even universes.

It would be very naîve for who say that the universe(s) or let's say the existence in a more general way (wich I don't know if it is even a correct way to describe it) is so simple and everything is just lucky and totally random with no logic or whatsoever.

Well, nor you nor me, nor anyone understand how we came about and how the universe was created, but we can understand that we don't know anything, and it is just too ignorant to pretend that we know it all, and denying what we don't know or what we don't understand or comprehend, I guess that's a part of the human nature and ego.

Life exists elsewhere in the universe? That's been pretty obvious for a while. It would be more astonishing if it didn't.

What that has to do with a belief in God, or what anything has to do with a teapot orbiting Mars, is completely beyond me.

All this does strike me as being a waste of time. The appearance of this article is the only part that isn't a *complete* waste of time, but certainly Mr. Dawkins' efforts seem to be (which says something rather unfavorable about the packed house to which he spoke.)

To predict life in universe we must have a workable hypothesis about the origin of life on earth. Without which, any comment will be unscientific even if it comes from a Nobel laureate.

@ Dr Oves Siddiqui: They already found some fossilized bacteria in a martian meteor in the south pole, not to mention life forms that live in extreme environements here on Earth, and even non-carbon based bacterias.
Not to mention organic compounds or traces that have been ejected from the moon Europa wich is thought to have underground oceans that covers the whole moon.

On the other hand, life could have came to Earth from somewhere else, I guess that make sense when many scientists, think that it is a big chance of luck that life on Earth evolved to what it is today and produced us, not to mention the time to produce the RNA and DNA based life forms, so I guess that the basics of life on Earth, may started to form on other world, that have been destroyed one after the other and spreading seeds to other world, including Earth, that got a shortcut to creat life, a support maybe, that's just an opinion I guess with no solid facts.

@Bob Greenwade: I agree.

This article is trully well-written.There are a lot of interesting things to take into consideration. well done!

Thanks i like your blog very much , i come back most days to find new posts like this.

"Every animal owes its existence to an astonishing list of contingencies that might not have happened." Of all people to recognize that. While faithful follows frequently, vehemently, deny it. yet, he continues on his pilgrimage path, down the yellow-brick road of evolution. Could one find fakery of clever wizardry behind a curtain of grand Theory, and its imposing belief? I mean the wonders of evolution's booming events, flashing triumphs, and smoking expressions? (Tremble in its audience hall.)

"Natural selection is the great engine of the predictable side of life, but it cannot start without certain prerequisites." A great "engine" it must be! (()) Belief in God is like a "teapot orbiting Mars"? A teapot? Orbiting Mars? O, I get it. - Its impossible! - unless someone lost their kettle while taking a tea-break in orbit. Belief in Evolution is like a can of cold beer on the surface of Venus. And just as likely. (()) "... the origin of life could still be a staggeringly good stroke of luck, ..." Yes, indeed, "staggeringly"! - like a billion times over.

"Dawkins sees himself as a 'religious non-believer' who's career has revolved around Darwin's view that all was 'produced by laws acting around us' ..." There certainly is a religious quality to the devotion men have for that naturalistic philosophy. Regarding things "produced by laws", what is overlooked in such statements, is that law - powerful, inexorable, and unalterable (unlike man's changeable laws) - requires a Great Lawgiver.

Darwin: "endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful... [ from ] war of nature, from famine and death"?! The "production of the higher animals -- directly follows" - from THOSE conditions? I guess I need reeducation, because I fail to see the "grandeur in this view of life".

Poor Dr. Dawkins is so concerned and blinded by the "how" of the Universe that he completely ignores the other half of the equation, which is the "why!"
e.g. If we want to go right back to the basics, then the first question that should come to mind about the 'big bang' is not how, but WHY!

And "because" is NOT an answer!

(I have watched Dr. Dawkins use "because" as an answer numerous times!)

Beginning to think we are the aliens on earth. How come a whale can live over 200 years, never needing a hospital, grow food, make clothes, build a house or adapt the whole environment to make life liveable. Think of many other animals alive today that suit their environment so well and live much longer the humans do. Humans have had to make large adaptations here on earth just to live to 40 until the modern scientific age dawned. We are not a natural species to earth like whales, bears, crocodiles or all other species that fit in so well. Begs the question, where really was our natural home.

Well, Professor Dawkins is wrong about "the fixed law of gravity" (according to many recent theories, e.g "The Situation of Gravity"), so is he right about anything else?

@ A paulo : There are many species that live far less than even 40 years. If you look back to our origins we did not need any of those things you mentioned either. There were no hospitals. We built nothing. We lived in caves, scavanged, and gathered much like many other animals. The differece is our brain. We were intelligent enough to realise we did not have the natural tools to hunt and kill like we observed many other animals doing, so we adapted, using our brain to devise tools to aid us so we no longer had to rely on scavanging and could provide for ourselves.

It has been said that intelligence is of little long term use to sentient species. I believe that is wrong. Intelligence is a great way to get a species to spread to multiple worlds, furthering the survival of the species. Seeds of life spend a lot of time drifting in the wind, or floating on the sea, maybe even traveling randomly through space in a comet or other object. Intelligence is just another method of spreading the seed of life. Why do we try to learn things like quantum physics or cosmology? Nearly everything we do is rooted in the need to survive. Why do we have the instinct to explore the unknown? Because that is what intelligent life is programmed to do. Every urge, desire and need we have has a reason for being. We are a product of the universe. It makes sense that the universe made us as a way for the universe itself to be introspective. Editor's Note: We've selected this as the Galaxy "Comment of the Day."

Who cares what life is? In the future you won't have to travel anywhere, you just simulate everything with varying degrees of precision, computers will be so powerful, that if you want to travel somewhere in the universe, or backwards or forwards in time, you just start a simulation and insert yourself in that time and space, no need to travel, just create from scratch, and your creation will be virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, which means it's the same as being actually there.


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