# Thread: DETERMINING MATH PROBABILITIES FOR LIFE OUTSIDE EARTH.

1. DETERMINING MATH PROBABILITIES FOR LIFE OUTSIDE EARTH.

Preamble: I'm far from a brilliant mathematician. (at least I got this right!)

However, my again menial logic says, the math based probability for life outside earth is almost 'nil' - excepting only that every crevice, nook and corner of the entire universe being explored - and no rock unturned, and which is not possible. My logic requires mathematical conversions:

1. We have an actual poll of the known universe, derived from 4.5 Billion years of imprints, that no life exists. This is backed by earthly fossil imprints, telescopic determinations, manned and unmanned missions to our closest neighbours, voyager missions spanning over 50 Billion miles, signals sent by earth, etc. - with no positive results. Also, we have no imprints or indicators from out there to us.

2. This (1) says, the 'unknown' universe is more likely than not - like the 'known' universe: no life.

3. The known universe harbours all imaginable conditions, both for and against life occuring, with nil results. This does not mean the exacting conditions seen on earth ust prevail for its viability, but that the basic materials like gasses and matter is the same; water is a combination of two such gasses; water may not be the deciding factor for life by reason because it is so on earth. Adaptation would compel another life form to pursue different utility than that which is not available to it - else Adaptation has no meaning.

4. The issue of distance and time does not impact: it is unreasonable to assume all space bodies are too far. Some will be relatively close, and older than earth - which says if there is life, here the life would be more advanced (this is time dependent), and they should be able to make their presence known - else there is no meaning to the term 'advanced'.

5. Evolution may also not apply here. NS and Adaptation, if its definition applies as a universal constant (else why consider it elsehwere?), cannot mean that only earth's exact and critical conditions must prevail for life to emerge elsewhere - but that a life has to adapt and prevail in *OTHER* harsh conditions. This does not appear as has happened.

6. UNI VASTNESS. There is no other means of determing life out there, aside from logic, and it being based on the 'known' universe. Usually I find, vital factors like no imprints for 4.5 B years and other transcendent aspects, are not factored in equally, and lesser factors are made operatve. The generic theme seems to be, that the great vastness and size says there must be life out there. But this vastness, IMHO, works against, not for, the probability: with such a vastness - we should be seeing life as a commonplace occurence; that we don't, says the reverse of what is concluded of it! The Maths of it would be based on 'Probability', not pigs-can-fly 'Pssibility'.

So how would a mathematician assess, present and conclude it?

2.

3. it's rather hard to perform a statistical analysis on a known sample of 1
the other alternative that i know of, the Drake equation, is not very useful because many of the factors in the second half of the equation are so poorly known that it's hardly more than a guess

4. Originally Posted by marnixR
it's rather hard to perform a statistical analysis on a known sample of 1
the other alternative that i know of, the Drake equation, is not very useful because many of the factors in the second half of the equation are so poorly known that it's hardly more than a guess
Yet there is elegant maths which can make definitive conclusions of probability based on the factors known at this given time. And there are factors known. Basically, I am seeking a mathematical vindication which says there is probably no life outside earth, based on sufficient factors of logic which say so.

Thanks, anyway.

5. Originally Posted by IamJoseph
Originally Posted by marnixR
it's rather hard to perform a statistical analysis on a known sample of 1
the other alternative that i know of, the Drake equation, is not very useful because many of the factors in the second half of the equation are so poorly known that it's hardly more than a guess
Yet there is elegant maths which can make definitive conclusions of probability based on the factors known at this given time. And there are factors known. Basically, I am seeking a mathematical vindication which says there is probably no life outside earth, based on sufficient factors of logic which say so.

Thanks, anyway.
No, MarnixR is correct. There are FAR too many variables involved to produce a mathematical construct to produce a meaningful result.

For example, it's totally impossible to state the number of stars in existence. It's also equally impossible to state how many of those have planets located in a orbit that's capable of producing/sustaining life. And it's ALSO equally impossible to predict if, in fact, there are lifeforms that are based on something besides carbon.

In summation, given all those (and other impossibilities) it's totally impossible to even speculate about a way to estimate, no matter HOW roughly, what you are looking for. I'm afraid you are on a fool's mission, my friend. In other words, a question with no chance of an a answer.

6. Originally Posted by Old Geezer

No, MarnixR is correct. There are FAR too many variables involved to produce a mathematical construct to produce a meaningful result.

For example, it's totally impossible to state the number of stars in existence. It's also equally impossible to state how many of those have planets located in a orbit that's capable of producing/sustaining life. And it's ALSO equally impossible to predict if, in fact, there are lifeforms that are based on something besides carbon.

In summation, given all those (and other impossibilities) it's totally impossible to even speculate about a way to estimate, no matter HOW roughly, what you are looking for. I'm afraid you are on a fool's mission, my friend. In other words, a question with no chance of an a answer.
I don't think so. If we could traverse every nook and corner, the Q would be superfluous. We need not know how many stars there are - only that there are unaccountable stars out there. The issue is of probabilities of the unknown, based on indicators and inferences of the known: there is no other way. And my point is, the known and all accountable factors at hand says NEGATIVE.

The above situation will not change. We will have the same issues a million years from now, even if we are able to travel at the speed of light.

Perhaps I should extend, that there are no indicators of life is not clearly understood. IOW, what extra indicators would have to be forthcoming to say life is 'probable' (as opposed possible)? Water and oxygen are not operative factors here. The last proponent for Negative was hinted at with the universe being deemed finite (Hawkin's BHT) - this does impact on the maths, rendering the applicable factors more condusive to a logical conclusion. We have to forget about waiting for ET knocking our doors!

Cheers.

7. under the present conditions we can't say what the circumstances are under which life can exist
we also don't know how likely it is that given the "correct" circumstances, life originates
we also don't know whether we even would recognise alien life if we encountered it

as for investigating every nook and cranny of the universe : the universe may be finite, but it's still enormous by human standards
we're not even at the stage where we can easily explore our solar system, let alone the universe

8. Originally Posted by marnixR

as for investigating every nook and cranny of the universe : the universe may be finite, but it's still enormous by human standards
we're not even at the stage where we can easily explore our solar system, let alone the universe
True. That is also why we can only proceed via maths. IOW, we can never traverse the entire universe, even if it is finite: the numbers are too big. The issue of recognising life is not the problem here - it is based on intelligent life, whereby non-intelligent, static life would have no impact. For all we know, the stars and planets may be a form of life.

9. Originally Posted by IamJoseph
For all we know, the stars and planets may be a form of life.
planets and stars reproduce ? wow !

10. Originally Posted by marnixR
planets and stars reproduce ? wow !
Marnix, you mean you've never seen the moons face?

11. i have, but it's not a pretty sight - he's got terrible acne

12. ... 1:1.

13. Originally Posted by marnixR
Originally Posted by IamJoseph
For all we know, the stars and planets may be a form of life.
planets and stars reproduce ? wow !
Repro is not in question: these bodies seem to live. They go tru embryonic stages, mature into stars and die off - same as humans. Their exitence is marked by patterned and systematic functions whci are math based. The transition between life and a new life [reproduction] is not understood generally.

What drives these bodies to become and perform as they do is also not known: there is no such thing as 'nature' - a placebo of the inexplicable. The study of the Zodiac may be mythical, but there is no question it was a prime starter to mankind's thinking of the universe, and that the stars condone signs [astronomy] and omens [astrology]. 8)

14. The logic of creation cannot be extended to the ultimate clarity.

Life reinvents itself like designing a computer with a computer.

15. Originally Posted by IamJoseph
The transition between life and a new life [reproduction] is not understood generally.
Oh? I understand it perfectly, thank you. In fact, I'm hoping to simulate it tonight, just as a trial run, as it were.

there is no such thing as 'nature' - a placebo of the inexplicable. The study of the Zodiac may be mythical, but there is no question it was a prime starter to mankind's thinking of the universe, and that the stars condone signs [astronomy] and omens [astrology].
Oh my god, yet another crack-head.

16. Originally Posted by Guitarist
Oh? I understand it perfectly, thank you. In fact, I'm hoping to simulate it tonight, just as a trial run, as it were.
Knowing the process and the understanding of it are totally different phenomenons. Apes do it - but they know not its underlieing, scientific equations.

And sure - there's no such thing as nature: how many colors and sizes do these come in, and where is it sourced from?

17. This is a discussion of exobiology and abiogenesis, not mathematics. I intend to move it to Biology unless you can provide justification for keeping it here.
Mathematics is a tool that can facilitate an interpretation of the evidence for and against alien life, but it is fallacious to suggest, as you do, that the math based probability for life outside earth is almost 'nil' . Anything based on maths is meaningless, it must be based on the evidence.

Originally Posted by Old Geezer
For example, it's totally impossible to state the number of stars in existence.
We can however state to a close order of magnitude, the number of stars in our galaxy. We can also state, to a close order of magnitude, the number of galaxies in the observable Universe.
Consequently it is wholly fallacious, in any practical sense, to say as you do that we cannot state the number of stars in existence.

Originally Posted by Old Geezer
It's also equally impossible to state how many of those have planets located in a orbit that's capable of producing/sustaining life.
Our understanding of planetary dynamics is now pretty good, thanks to high speed, complex computer simulations. Our appreciation of the character of planetary systems has grown by leaps and bounds following the discovery of many exoplanets. We can therefore state, to an order of magnitude, how many planets exist in stable orbits within the Goldilocks zone of their star.

18. Originally Posted by IamJoseph
Repro is not in question: these bodies seem to live.
the all-important word is seem : you're proposing an analogy between celestial bodies and living organisms that doesn't bring you very far

in my view life is defined as reproduction with modification - whether that's universal can be a matter for debate, but i doubt whether the "life" cycle of planets and stars has anything at all to do with life as we understand it

19. Originally Posted by marnixR
but i doubt whether the "life" cycle of planets and stars has anything at all to do with life as we understand it
Sure, and I was'nt including this as life outside earth. I merely responded that star actions appear to emulate a cycle.

20. Originally Posted by Ophiolite
I intend to move it to Biology unless you can provide justification for keeping it here.
Er... nope, can't think of one. Unless I were to suggest Pseudo or Trash?
Anything based on maths is meaningless, it must be based on the evidence.
As it happens, I don't agree with this, but that is, perhaps, another story.

21. Originally Posted by Ophiolite
Mathematics is a tool that can facilitate an interpretation of the evidence for and against alien life, but it is fallacious to suggest, as you do, that the math based probability for life outside earth is almost 'nil' .
Almost, meaning probably negative. Here, I was looking for a mathematically based affirmation or negation, based on the knowns and unknowns.

Anything based on maths is meaningless, it must be based on the evidence.
Sure. Evidence here would mean, what is known, seen and held as the prevailing view.

Consequently it is wholly fallacious, in any practical sense, to say as you do that we cannot state the number of stars in existence.
The exact number of stars being known is not an impacting factor here. What we know as 'held' to be so, is adequate to form a math premise. My point here is, the more stars - the less probability of life, based on its receptive impacts on the known universe. I think it a viable issue, to theorise this factor, as we do with other theories based on intelligent indicators, without proof. Eg: the BBT; whether the universe is seen as infinite or finite; etc. Please feel free to move the thread if you decide so.

22. Originally Posted by IamJoseph
In the absence of a "Lewis Carroll corner" I'd move it to trash, the drake equation is merely a framework with more variables than you can shake a stick at. Suppose you had an infinitely powerful telescope which you pointed at a planet in a distant galaxy and saw 'beings' moving around, that would not be proof of life existing elsewhere only that at some time in the past life had existed there. It is (in my opinion) reasonable to assume that Earth like planets in solar systems similar to ours could shelter life, but we could be the first or last life in the universe.

23. Originally Posted by Megabrain
Suppose you had an infinitely powerful telescope which you pointed at a planet in a distant galaxy and saw 'beings' moving around, that would not be proof of life existing elsewhere only that at some time in the past life had existed there. It is (in my opinion) reasonable to assume that Earth like planets in solar systems similar to ours could shelter life, but we could be the first or last life in the universe.
But we have pointed telescopes - with negative result; and made extensive other means to detect life. It is not based on possibility but probability. The time factor and potential conditions for life - when applied against the evidences in the known universe, work against the probability. Namely it is saying those conditions and time factors are not represented in the known universe; in fact they are represented not only in the closest planets around us - but on this planet alone. The factors encountered in the known universe - a reasonably huge slice even when set against the unknown vastness, is the ultimate and most valid example possible.

It is not a trash to contemplate this issue - it is a foremost factor, and must be made on the data available at this given time. It is worthy as a preamble of all scientific premises. Why not make your conclusion - based on the data at hand: namely yes/no for life outside earth, based on a maths conclusion - or are you waiting for ET to knock your door?

24. Originally Posted by IamJoseph
But we have pointed telescopes - with negative result; and made extensive other means to detect life.
that's not saying much - it's a bit like looking with binoculars into a dark forest, not seeing any deer, and then claiming that there possibly can't be any deer in that forest

you seem to greatly underestimate the size of the universe

25. I agree a long the lines of Mega, the Drake equation is pointless until we start to plug in some of the variables. We can only do that when we actually find evidence for life.

26. Originally Posted by marnixR

you seem to greatly underestimate the size of the universe
We'd do that no matter how much we see of the universe, which means I don't underestimate. I just don't find it relevent to scan every nook and corner, because this is not possible. I think we underestimate what we see of the known universe:

This is huge, with all known kinds of conditions and ages imaginable herein, spanning billions of galaxies. It is a valid and actual survey poll.

Perhaps there is apprehension of making any conclusions of what is quite blatant, and more manifesting than the indicators and criteria used for most other theories, determinations and conclusions. Perhaps this issue becomes more enlightening when we consider the ramifications of a conclusion being settled upon, and how it impacts scientific premises and the human psyche.

Far more than encountering an ET, humanity may be more disoriented if can ever be confirmed there is no life elsewhere. That 'we are it and all there is' - in all the vastness - becomes daunting, onusarable and finally a very lone feeling. I see pivotal impactations on the evolution theory here, specially the premise of NS and Adaptation; the search for water becomes irrelevent, as does the BBT.

27. Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
I agree a long the lines of Mega, the Drake equation is pointless until we start to plug in some of the variables. We can only do that when we actually find evidence for life.
Utter nonsense. The Drake equation remains extremely valuable for exactly what it was designed for: to focus attention on the constraints upon life (including intelligent life)within the Universe. It gives structure to the viable and valuable field of exobiology. All of the components of the Drake equation are much more clearly defined today than they were when Drake introduced the equation over forty years ago. That clarity will improve steadily given the volume of ongoing research. I am perfectly happy to see nay-sayers bury their heads on this one. Be my guest.

28. Originally Posted by Ophiolite
Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
I agree a long the lines of Mega, the Drake equation is pointless until we start to plug in some of the variables. We can only do that when we actually find evidence for life.
Utter nonsense. The Drake equation remains extremely valuable for exactly what it was designed for: to focus attention on the constraints upon life (including intelligent life)within the Universe. It gives structure to the viable and valuable field of exobiology. All of the components of the Drake equation are much more clearly defined today than they were when Drake introduced the equation over forty years ago. That clarity will improve steadily given the volume of ongoing research. I am perfectly happy to see nay-sayers bury their heads on this one. Be my guest.
Learn some simple maths like algebra, then come back with an intelligent reply!

29. [quote="Ophiolite"]
Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
I am perfectly happy to see nay-sayers bury their heads on this one. Be my guest.
If you are under the impression that my stance is that there is no life beyond earth(god knows where you got that from) you are desperately wrong(On the contrary Im actually considering a PhD thesis on extra solar planets). All im saying is no formula can narrow down a probability with no data to plug in.

30. Originally Posted by Ophiolite
The Drake equation remains extremely valuable for exactly what it was designed for: to focus attention on the constraints upon life (including intelligent life)within the Universe.
Not exactly correct, within our galaxy was his intent. Currently the answer is zero (ie how many intelligent lifeforms out there could communicate with us). There is a posibility that even if there were 1 million earth like planets they could all be barren of life. And again we could be the first or last planet containing life. You might as well ask how many frogs are in my garden when you do not even know if I have a garden, or how big it is (if I have one) or any other data about it. All you can say is, If I have a garden there might be frogs in it. If there are earthlike planets out there they might harbour life.

31. Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
All im saying is no formula can narrow down a probability with no data to plug in.
Does an actual survey sample not constitute as applicable data in the probability factor? Would this not negate dna testing, whereby a sampling affirms the host id?

32. Does an actual survey sample not constitute as applicable data in the probability factor?
What you mean something to the effect of: We have surveyed a certain degree of space in (varying ways) and have found zero?

33. say you investigated a million stars and found none of them had planets with life on it (how you would do that using a telescope i don't know, it's already hard enough to detect some planets), then you could say that the probability of finding life is less than 1 in a million

however, say for argument's sake there's a billion stars in the galaxy, this still would leave the possibility that there are just under 1000 stars with planets carrying life but our sample hadn't picked it up (+ that's assuming an even distribution)

when dealing with large numbers, even events with a low probability become possible, provided that the probability is not zero

34. Originally Posted by IamJoseph

Does an actual survey sample not constitute as applicable data in the probability factor? Would this not negate dna testing, whereby a sampling affirms the host id?
I see what you mean. The way I see it: Our not finding life yet would lower the odds minutely. But if you assume for a second that life is out there somewhere, How much of its smell would have actually wafted its way right onto our laps?(please forgive the motley metaphor)

Given the vastness of the universe, detecting something as paltry as life on a < 10^27kg rock could still be like finding a needle in all the haystacks on earth, even if life out there is relatively common.

35. Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
Learn some simple maths like algebra, then come back with an intelligent reply!
I wouldn't tolerate this remark if it were directed at another forum member. I see no reason to tolerate it when it is directed against me.

If you are under the impression that my stance is that there is no life beyond earth(god knows where you got that from) you are desperately wrong(On the contrary Im actually considering a PhD thesis on extra solar planets).
I hope you realise that there is absolutely no visible connection between your interest in extra-solar planets and your belief in the possibility of alien life.
I have not expressed any opinion on what your stance on extra-terrestrial life maybe. Until your last post I had no idea what your stance was. I have, however, clearly expressed a deep contempt for those unable to understand the purpose of the Drake equation and its value in providing a framework for research in exobiology and allied fields.
All im saying is no formula can narrow down a probability with no data to plug in.
There are abundant data. I have pointed out some of these in an earlier post.

36. Actually I can make a quite accurate analysis of the shape of a nova explosion left over solar system like ours and the probability of life in it. Obviously 1 planet with life per 8 planets in every such solarsystem, else we would feel like very cold methane right now.

Every solarsystem like ours is a puzzle, the pieces, when puzzled together get an incommon vektor, and the puzzeling is caused by gravity. The result should be somewhat indifferent, unless proven otherwise.

37. Originally Posted by marnixR
say you investigated a million stars and found none of them had planets with life on it (how you would do that using a telescope i don't know, it's already hard enough to detect some planets), then you could say that the probability of finding life is less than 1 in a million

however, say for argument's sake there's a billion stars in the galaxy, this still would leave the possibility that there are just under 1000 stars with planets carrying life but our sample hadn't picked it up (+ that's assuming an even distribution)

when dealing with large numbers, even events with a low probability become possible, provided that the probability is not zero
There is no possibility, and in fact no requirement, to examine the entire universe here. This can only be achieved via math. The applicable criteria seems to be:

1. The unknown is best indicated by the known, with no alternative means available. Here, the known is not limited to telescopic indications [which is only how astronomy began]; since then, we have deep space missions [voyager, etc], radiation imprints, galactical mappings, and 4.5 Billion years of zero life imprints on earth. This is a large sector, representative of all kinds of conditions, ages and distances. That no life has ever contacted us, says life, which is based on time and distance from us, does not exist; as opposed to why we cannot detect life out there. Both factors are equally applicable - else why and what are we looking for, when we seek any life?

2. The greater the number of galaxies - the less odds for life. This is the correct maths view, which is generally, but eronously, sited as reason to promote greater life probability. Because the odds for finding life and life finding us is greater, while the negative result reverses the equation! Eg: if 20 floors in a 100 floor skycrapper says no life - these odds decrease for a 200 floor skyscrapper. This can be seen in actual betting systems with race-horses, lottos, etc.

38. I wouldn't tolerate this remark if it were directed at another forum member. I see no reason to tolerate it when it is directed against me.
If you think I can be bullied into not returning your petty digs due to your itchy ban button finger, think again.

Originally Posted by Ophiolite

Your reply was purely dismissive of my point on the grounds of a philosophical view point and had zero to do with the mathematics of the drake equation.

I hope you realise that there is absolutely no visible connection between your interest in extra-solar planets and your belief in the possibility of alien life.
Im surprised at your ignorance. The whole subject of extra solar planetary endeavour is to answer "is there other earths out there, and do they harbour life?"
I have not expressed any opinion on what your stance on extra-terrestrial life maybe. Until your last post I had no idea what your stance was. I have, however, clearly expressed a deep contempt for those unable to understand the purpose of the Drake equation and its value in providing a framework for research in exobiology and allied fields.
No! you have expressed a deep contempt for anyone that fails to see the pseudo-science of the drake equation.
There are abundant data. I have pointed out some of these in an earlier post.
Cool! Please go ahead and show us which variables you have substituted in for!

39. There's thought to be about 10 to the 21 power of stars in the universe. If life exists in every billionth star system then there would be hundreds of billions of star systems with life. Are those odds a lot or not? No way of measuring it.

10 to the 21st power may seem a lot but is only a hundredth of 10 to the 23rd power. are there a lot of stars and permutations in the universe? The number of stars is multiple times greater than peole on Earth but multiple times smaller than the atoms that make up those people.

Numbers have no meaning without a context. Math has no meaning without context.

As Ophiolite correctly point out we have a case study of one and we don't know what variables came together to create life in that one case study. It's hard to do much math if restricted to a single point without any other variable, a graph, vector, etc. Any math proofs are meaningless.

Speculating on life elsewhere is fascinating. Unfortunately folks forget that it is speculation based on speculation and put too much value into a formula like the Drake equation. the Drake equation was no more than a formula to stimulate discussion.

40. Originally Posted by Jellyologist
There's thought to be about 10 to the 21 power of stars in the universe. .
You are joking?
In the universe?? visible universe?? Or super cluster??

Can You site where you got this tiny number from?

41. Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
Originally Posted by Jellyologist
There's thought to be about 10 to the 21 power of stars in the universe. .
You are joking?
In the universe?? visible universe?? Or super cluster??

Can You site where you got this tiny number from?
It does not matter, in the context it this placed. There are trillions of cells in a life form - but we focus on maybe 17 of them, to determine their nature - we need not examine every cell. This says the unknown is more like the known [conformity/constancy] than not so. Maths is like grammar - we take the only route, or shortest one, possible between two points.

Additionally, increasing the unknown does not effect the equation, but only reduces the likelihood of it being different. The latter only alters if there are some other factors, beside size and numbers, which indicates the unknown is different.

In any case, the reason for examing life odds is solely to determine its effects of our understanding of the universe. Here, the Q is, if it is determined [via maths] there is no life - does it impact on anything, such as the emergence of life on this planet, evolution's Adaptation and NS, forces and the attributes of molecule distributions. Of course, science and maths remain the same - but the conclusions may be varied, including what is generic and random, and what is specific and focused - namely it would be difficult to say Adaptation is the rule when it is the exception in the universe.

42. [quote="IamJoseph"]

. There are trillions of cells in a life form - but we focus on maybe 17 of them, to determine their nature - we need not examine every cell. This says the unknown is more like the known [conformity/constancy] than not so. Maths is like grammar - we take the only route, or shortest one, possible between two points. [quote="IamJoseph"]

true. However, we don't have 'two' points but only one. There is no route or vector or equation to be made with a single point. This is why if we discover some life form, however primitive, it is likely there are quintillions of solar systems with life. Today, however, we can't 'assume' there are even two. We can make an educated guestimate as in the Drake equation but that's all it is.

43. Originally Posted by IamJoseph
It does not matter, in the context it this placed. There are trillions of cells in a life form - but we focus on maybe 17 of them, to determine their nature - we need not examine every cell. This says the unknown is more like the known [conformity/constancy] than not so. Maths is like grammar - we take the only route, or shortest one, possible between two points.
But you could use that argument equally well if not better , to argue for life. i.e. we have surveyed one solar system in the universe close enough to yah or nah life, and guess what? We have found life in it! Its there, there, in the corner of the room , on the floor. *swat* now theres one less of the mothers.
Additionally, increasing the unknown does not effect the equation, but only reduces the likelihood of it being different. The latter only alters if there are some other factors, beside size and numbers, which indicates the unknown is different.
The former and the latter are the same thing in the context of an equation. What you call difference would be substituted in and still effect the overall value.

In any case, the reason for examing life odds is solely to determine its effects of our understanding of the universe. Here, the Q is, if it is determined [via maths] there is no life - does it impact on anything, such as the emergence of life on this planet, evolution's Adaptation and NS, forces and the attributes of molecule distributions. Of course, science and maths remain the same - but the conclusions may be varied, including what is generic and random, and what is specific and focused - namely it would be difficult to say Adaptation is the rule when it is the exception in the universe.
What odds?? there are no odds! There cant be any odds unless you have known variables. That works for and against in an equation.

44. [quote="GhostofMaxwell"] But you could use that argument equally well if not better , to argue for life. i.e. we have surveyed one solar system in the universe close enough to yah or nah life, and guess what? We have found life in it! Its there, there, in the corner of the room , on the floor. *swat* now theres one less of the mothers.
[quote]

This applies only if there are other indicators signifying life. There are not.

What odds?? there are no odds! There cant be any odds unless you have known variables. That works for and against in an equation.
All the variables are contained in the known uni: these impact the odds.

45. Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
Originally Posted by Jellyologist
There's thought to be about 10 to the 21 power of stars in the universe. .
You are joking?
In the universe?? visible universe?? Or super cluster??

Can You site where you got this tiny number from?

Why joking? the Hubble project estimates 125 billion galaxies and the numbers of stars in most galaxies between 50 billion and 2 trillion.

Multiply the figures and it's 10 to the 21st number of stars. Some astronomers would say it's more and closer to 10 to the 22 power.

If one in a thousand star systems has life that's 20,000 in the Milky Way and 125,000,000,000 x 20,000 in the Universe.

We know of one planet with life. Ours. It has evolved a technology using life form (us). If one in ten planets with life developed an intelligent, technology using life form then there are (based on above) 2,000 x 125,000,000,000 star systems that have developed intelligent life.

As everyone asks: Where are they? Unfortunately the great distances between stars and even greater between galaxies, coupled with Relativity, might preclude intelligences ever being in any contact with each other.

Did Drake estimate 10 inteligences per galaxy? That's 10 x 125,000,000,000 ETs. Again, where are they? Zero evidence to date. The physical properties of the Universe might be a big pain in the butt.

46. Originally Posted by Jellyologist
There is no route or vector or equation to be made with a single point.
How do you mean, the issue is there is no single point, a precedent for determining routes and vectors?

47. This applies only if there are other indicators signifying life. There are not.

48. Originally Posted by IamJoseph

All the variables are contained in the known uni: these impact the odds.
What variables?

The amount of earth like planets? The amount of earth like planets that contain life? The amount of life that has gone on to complexity?

What variables do you know that no one has ever told me?

49. Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
Originally Posted by IamJoseph

All the variables are contained in the known uni: these impact the odds.
What variables?

The amount of earth like planets? The amount of earth like planets that contain life? The amount of life that has gone on to complexity?

What variables do you know that no one has ever told me?
I refer to the commonality of gasses, minerals, light, heat, gravity, etc. There is no concievable reasoning why life would adapt from only one particular mix, except looking at it retrospectively and after the fact.

Adaptation is the prevailing over harsh conditions, as opposed only the conditions on one planet; this says there should have been life in the known universe, which show all the variable for life, and an anomoly that this is not the case. The latter says by subsequence, the unknown universe would exhibit the same result.

50. Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
This applies only if there are other indicators signifying life. There are not.

Other indicators, as in secured intimations of life, namely which can either comminucate or exhibit life ID, namely like trees and vegetation, which have life but no communication attributes. Everything encountered thus far says the universe outside earth is inanimate [lifeless].

51. Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
Originally Posted by IamJoseph

All the variables are contained in the known uni: these impact the odds.
What variables?

The amount of earth like planets? The amount of earth like planets that contain life? The amount of life that has gone on to complexity?

What variables do you know that no one has ever told me?
I refer to the commonality of gasses, minerals, light, heat, gravity, etc. There is no concievable reasoning why life would adapt from only one particular mix, except looking at it retrospectively and after the fact.
What are you talking about?? The mix that we have evolved from(elements all the way up to the heaviest) is plentyful throughout the known universe, where ever there are 2nd or above generation stars that have matured form supernovea remnants . Gravity heat and light are constant throughout. Retrospectives are irrelevant.
Adaptation is the prevailing over harsh conditions, as opposed only the conditions on one planet; this says there should have been life in the known universe, which show all the variable for life, and an anomoly that this is not the case. The latter says by subsequence, the unknown universe would exhibit the same result.
There is life in the one scoured solar system of the know universe FFS!

I can see some logic in there, but you have no idea how to apply logic to reality.

52. Lets say we look for a particular insect in the amazon forests. If we begin our search, and encounter many other insects [life forms], but not that particular insect - we can say our search criteria was inadequate, and that the particular insect may still be embedded deep in the amazon earth, which we were not able to detect. Here, it would be incorrect to conclude a negative result.

But the above scenario changes if, for example, our search results in no life of any kind whatsoever in our search, even if this does not include every possible sector of the amazon. Similarly, if Apollo 11 found no trace of life in a reasonable sector of the moon, we can determine there is no life there - as a probability factor. All of science works on the basis of such maths.

53. Originally Posted by IamJoseph
Lets say we look for a particular insect in the amazon forests. If we begin our search, and encounter many other insects [life forms], but not that particular insect - we can say our search criteria was inadequate, and that the particular insect may still be embedded deep in the amazon earth, which we were not able to detect. Here, it would be incorrect to conclude a negative result.
.......This is logic.

ut the above scenario changes if, for example, our search results in no life of any kind whatsoever in our search, even if this does not include every possible sector of the amazon. Similarly, if Apollo 11 found no trace of life in a reasonable sector of the moon, we can determine there is no life there - as a probability factor. All of science works on the basis of such maths.
.............This is nonsense that makes a noise of being intelligent. What religion are you?

54. Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell

What are you talking about?? The mix that we have evolved from(elements all the way up to the heaviest) is plentyful throughout the known universe, where ever there are 2nd or above generation stars that have matured form supernovea remnants . Gravity heat and light are constant throughout. Retrospectives are irrelevant.
Eaxctly! The elements for life are commonplace. This works against the probability of life, which has not emerged despite all means to do so.

There is life in the one scoured solar system of the know universe FFS!

I can see some logic in there, but you have no idea how to apply logic to reality.
This makes life here unique - the exception; while the absence of life in all the known universe does not enhance the probability of life in the unknown universe.

55. Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
Originally Posted by IamJoseph
Lets say we look for a particular insect in the amazon forests. If we begin our search, and encounter many other insects [life forms], but not that particular insect - we can say our search criteria was inadequate, and that the particular insect may still be embedded deep in the amazon earth, which we were not able to detect. Here, it would be incorrect to conclude a negative result.
.......This is logic.

ut the above scenario changes if, for example, our search results in no life of any kind whatsoever in our search, even if this does not include every possible sector of the amazon. Similarly, if Apollo 11 found no trace of life in a reasonable sector of the moon, we can determine there is no life there - as a probability factor. All of science works on the basis of such maths.
.............This is nonsense that makes a noise of being intelligent. What religion are you?
What is the differentials between the two scenarios - replace the amazon as the universe? I follow a monotheistic creationist belief, but not one which contradicts science, math and logic.

56. [quote="IamJoseph"]
Eaxctly! The elements for life are commonplace. This works against the probability of life, which has not emerged despite all means to do so.
It may not have emerged because we have yet to examine a place that has the conditions for life in our 50 year half billion mile scope.

This makes life here unique - the exception; while the absence of life in all the known universe does not enhance the probability of life in the unknown universe.
The known universe is one solar system! and that is scant knowledge.

If you examined one petal on a flower in the amazon and there was no life on it because it was toxic(the condition were wrong). Does that mean there is no life in the amazon?

57. What is the differentials between the two scenarios - replace the amazon as the universe?
The 2nd one is a logical fallacy because it assumes if you find yourself living in a bubble in a bucket of bleach , then the whole world is a bucket of bleach.
I follow a monotheistic creationist belief, but not one which contradicts science, math and logic.
Clearly.

58. Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
If you think I can be bullied into not returning your petty digs due to your itchy ban button finger, think again.
I made no digs. I do not expect you to be bullied into good behaviour. I expect you to honour the rules of the forum you agreed to when you became a member. That is all.
Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
Originally Posted by Ophiolite
Your reply was purely dismissive of my point on the grounds of a philosophical view point and had zero to do with the mathematics of the drake equation.
The entire point about the Drake equation is that it is philosophy made incarnate. It was never intended as a serious means of estimating the number of intelligent civilisations in the Universe, but rather as a means of placing such an investigation in a properly structured context.
If, as you say, you have this interest in exo-planets and alien life, I would have thought this aspect of the equation would be well known to you.
Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
I hope you realise that there is absolutely no visible connection between your interest in extra-solar planets and your belief in the possibility of alien life.
Im surprised at your ignorance. The whole subject of extra solar planetary endeavour is to answer "is there other earths out there, and do they harbour life?"
I'm surprised at your obtuseness. There is no way in which a casual, or intense, observer can determine what your view on alien life is merely from that fact that you are interested in exoplanets. It is entirely possible to be interested in exoplanets and have no interest in alien life; it is entirely possible to be interested in exoplanets and take a Drake like view that their are many civilisations in the galaxy; it is entirely possible to be interested in exoplanets and take a Ward/Brownlee like view, that we may well be unique. To repeat there is no visible connection between your interest in exoplanets and your view on alien life.

No! you have expressed a deep contempt for anyone that fails to see the pseudo-science of the drake equation.
Huh?

Cool! Please go ahead and show us which variables you have substituted in for!
Please don't use strawmen arguments on this forum. I expect it from creationists and the like, not from a scientist.

59. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation

As I said it contains more unknowns than you can shake a stick at, it
is referred to as an equation but in fact it is not.
R* is the average rate of star formation in our galaxy
fp is the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne is the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
fl is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
fi is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
fc is the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L is the length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space.

Just look closely, there is a mixture of past, present and future in these variables, even the units aren't compatible, sorry guys but it mayt just be your maths isn't good enough to recognise the flaws.

Take the var 'L' being measured in units of time requires the the answer to reference time yet the answer does NOT reference time eg 5 men for 2 hours = 10 man-hours. The answer required is how many civilisations there are, not will be or for how long etc.

It is an illustration, not a serious mathematical equation. Equations are built from data, observations, measurements etc.

60. It's an equation, all right. You just have to recognize what you are calculating. You are not calculating the number of civilizations in the galaxy, you are calculating the number you should EXPECT to see, GIVEN the numbers you have assumed for the individual components.

The units work out correctly because you are multiplying a rate by a lifetime. It is the same as saying if I buy 1 car every 5 years, and keep the cars an average of 10 years, I probably own 2 cars at any given time.

61. Originally Posted by Megabrain
Just look closely, there is a mixture of past, present and future in these variables, even the units aren't compatible, sorry guys but it mayt just be your maths isn't good enough to recognise the flaws.
I don't see the past, future and present link here Megabrain. Please explain that statement. Also, the equation is dimensionally consistent - the dimensions of the R* term cancels the dimension of the L term.

62. Originally Posted by Ophiolite
I'm surprised at your obtuseness. There is no way in which a casual, or intense, observer can determine what your view on alien life is merely from that fact that you are interested in exoplanets. It is entirely possible to be interested in exoplanets and have no interest in alien life; it is entirely possible to be interested in exoplanets and take a Drake like view that their are many civilisations in the galaxy; it is entirely possible to be interested in exoplanets and take a Ward/Brownlee like view, that we may well be unique. To repeat there is no visible connection between your interest in exoplanets and your view on alien life.
I challenge you to "name and shame" a single person who dismisses exolife outright who would go int the field of exoplanets.

That would be like, besides my stance on romance novels being mindless pap for soppy old ladies, going into the field of reporting on the depths of litteral talent and nuances of Barbra Cartland, complete with her life and loves.

63. This reply delayed because I missed it the first time around. I cannot name a specific individual. I simply know that the motivations for an interest in exoplanets need not include an interest in alien life. One might have an interest in exoplanets from the standpoint of the character of gas giants; or because one is interested in FEA on planetary accretion discs; or a dozen other specifics wholly unrelated to alien life.
Certainly there are many astronomers who view the possibility of alien life in general, and intelligent life in particular, as being somewhere between highly unlikely and impossible. I doubt that those who study exoplanets would differ radically from their other colleagues in this regard.

64. I see it this way: Even local space could be densely populated with "space monkeys" and nothing we have done would have detected it unless they happened to blast radio signals our way, to arrive here in the last 50 years.

Just call me a crazy optimist if you like.

65. Well, your own view on the matter is interesting (and I wouldn't challenge the possibility of your stance - which is not the same as agreeing with you), but I don't quite see what it has to do with your original point. I hope that means you accept the truth of my reply.

Harold has very clearly stated one aspect of my view on the equation: "You are not calculating the number of civilizations in the galaxy, you are calculating the number you should EXPECT to see, GIVEN the numbers you have assumed for the individual components."

66. Originally Posted by Ophiolite
but I don't quite see what it has to do with your original point. I hope that means you accept the truth of my reply.
It doesn't contradict my original reply, as I still dispute the mathematical usefulness of the drake equation. It is inspirational though, I guess, to have an incomplete approximation of the spread of any life in our galaxy, so I withdraw my apparent negativity towards it being useful at all.

67. Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
It doesn't contradict my original reply, as I still dispute the mathematical usefulness of the drake equation. It is inspirational though, I guess, to have an incomplete approximation of the spread of any life in our galaxy, so I withdraw my apparent negativity towards it being useful at all.
I think it is useful in one respect and that is to decide whether or not to do a search for extraterrestrial intelligence. You are spending some money, but with the possibility of a great discovery. Is it worth it? I'd want to crunch the numbers using the Drake equation. You still wouldn't know, but it's a little bit better than just taking a wild stab at it, IMO.

68. And I feel the need, again, to repeat the original function of the equation: it was to provide a context and agenda for a meeting on the possibility of extra-terrestrial civilisations that was held at Greenbank observatory in 1960. Actually calculating a possible figure for the number of such extant civilisations was a secondary and largely incidental by-product of the equation.

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