An argument that we are alone in this infinite universe

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by WeedMongerer, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. So we've all heard the argument of how we live in a infinite universe with infinite possibilities and there has to be one planet out there with intelligent life on it ( or life of any kind I guess )...I'm kinda rolling with intelligent beings. 

    Now I do not rule this out, but I think its fairly likely that we are the only intelligent beings in our whole universe. Which is pretty fkn cool imo. 

    Going off a timeline of the earth being 4.6 billion years old....i googled it and it appears its possible with anywhere from 150,000 to 500,000 years ago that humans came about. Lets say it is 500,000 years ago we can consider some from of intelligent life being on our planet. 

    That would mean since Earth's been created on the timeline we represent 1/9200 of this timeline.

    Now imagine drawing on a sheet of paper Earth's timeline with us representing this number, we would be a spec on this timeline. 

    So now not only in our universe do we need life to actually exist, but coexist with us at this very spec on our timeline. These are extraordinary odds, but none the less possible in an infinite universe with infinite possibilities. 

    Once again I do not rule out other life out there, obviously none of us know but just throwing this thought out there. Also I understand it's impossible to know if there is another form of intelligent life, how long they have survived on their planets. It's possible it could be millions of years or more, its possible thousands to millions of intelligent lifeforms have been created and ultimately completely destroyed just like us on our ant hill will be at some point on this timeline, but even if these other intelligent beings lived millions or 100's of millions of years, their timeline  would still  have to overlap in our timeline of existence for coexistence. 
  2. What are the odds we are the only planet with intelligent life if the universe is infinitely large?  What are the odds someone just like you doesn't exist on infinite other planets?  Infinitely small, I'd say.
  3. #3 1sttimegrower, Feb 5, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2014
    Very astute observation :)
    However, lets assume 1,000,000 earth-like planets. This is a lower-bound estimate
    Life began 500 Ma.
    We began ~ 2Ma (generalized estimate)
    The universe began 14.6 Ga
    So on earth, we've existed for the span of 2 / 14600, or about 0.014 % of the universe's time. I am using Universal ages so as to draw an EXTREME lower limit.
    Now, lets equate this % to the probability of INTELLIGENT life existing within the universe. OFC the first 5 Ga likely had no life, but the lower % serves my purpose of an extreme bound.
    0.014% chance of intelligent life existing at the same time as us on another planet.

    Now, I dont know if this math checks out (as in, can I do this, logically), but with a LOWER bound estimate of 0.014% at ONLY 1,000,000 earth-like planets, we have 14,000 planets that have intelligent life on them.
    See, your numbers for probability are VERY small. However, numbers of viable planets out there are incredibly vast.
    However, the universe is VAST! Will we ever see one of these 14,000 civilizations? Probably not
  4. Nice replies guys, 
    Damn, nice math. I think it owned mine a tad. Dammit. Cant think of everything 
  5. Thats assuming theres only 1m planets as well, which we know to be more like 10m times that.And that .0014% is percent in terms of age of the earth, which we also know is a smaller, younger planet. The last thing is youre assuming all intelligent life has the same life span as human, which may or may not be far greater.
  6. #7 WeedMongerer, Feb 5, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2014
    I see where ya'll are coming from and I have to say it is probably more likely there is other intelligent life coexisting. I didnt think of going into the other side of the math which pretty much disproves my point. I admitted that, this thought had just creeped into my head recently, I just didn't crunch the numbers on the bigger picture... but I didnt assume all intelligent life has the same life span as us...I said

    Once again I do not rule out other life out there, obviously none of us know but just throwing this thought out there. Also I understand it's impossible to know if there is another form of intelligent life, how long they have survived on their planets.

    So I guess with how long they have survived on other planets I was projecting its possible it could be any amount of time or even right now. 

  7. #8 HighThereJackie, Feb 5, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
    This is very interesting! Ive always thought of the probability according to space, but not according to time. Its brilliant. The most amazing thing is that even the smallest amount of probability can be significant in an infinite universe! Sent from my SGH-I727R using Grasscity Forum mobile app
  8. While I am doubtful, I could see how you could think we're the only intelligent life in our galaxy, or our galactic neighborhood, or maybe even the observable universe, but the infinite universe? No way.. but you are right about one thing, our existence is but a speck when it comes to the universe. With an infinite universe with infinite possibilities, that speck will be infinitely increasing and decreasing at the same time.. and just like one grain of sand wouldn't assume there aren't any others, we shouldn't attempt to assume our speck is the only speck.
  9. what i dont get is why people dont see all planets as viable for life. why would a life form need to be oxygen/carbon based like us?
  10. Because certain chemical reactions are needed to make a life form work, these reactions only happen with a few chemicals we know of,
    but sometimes i think maybe on a distant planet the temperatures or pressures are so extreme that chemicals act differentlyy and maybe life is possible in other ways
  11. the thing is though each planet would have different elements present and conditions that must be survived.

    until we actually make it to other planets and observe it we will never have any idea if life could work based on other elements because thats all we will ever be able to observe here.
  12. Well the top 5 common elements found in the universe are also the top 5 in the human body..
    Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Helium, Nitrogen.. in that order. We're made of the most common ingredients there are.
    The chemistry too rich.. the universe too vast.. us, too egocentric, to assert that we are the only life in the universe
  13. Be careful what you're suggesting, Bruno.  :smoke:
    While we have a pretty good idea on a lot of the processes that go into abiogenesis, we're not 100% knowledgeable on it. People try to make the argument "life on Earth is perfect to live on Earth.. so it must of been created..", when it's because life formed to the conditions on Earth.. no big mystery there. There could be unlimited combinations of conditions that can bring about life, and there could be several different processes that end in the same result. There could be 10 different ways for 1 type of protein, 8 different ways for 1 type of amino acid to form, or 5 different ways for a type of sugar to form.. and so on. When it's an infinite universe, it's pretty flipping big.. a lot of shit can go down.
    I personally think that there's a good chance we could find life out in the universe that is pretty similar to life on Earth.. If abiogenesis happens on a planet where it gets a good bit of light, chances are there will be an organism that consumes it. It'll start off single celled and evolve from there, like how it went from algae in the sea to plants and trees on the land. A good chance that something evolves similar to trees with growing upwards to get as much light as possible versus competitors, and if they do and come out kind of like our trees, chances are another life form will fill the niche of living in them.. which would then open up a good door to some kind of opposable digits for gripping branches. That was one of the many key conditions for us getting to where we are today.
  15. All alone in infinite space with infinite possibilities with billions of stars and trillions of planets seems kind of depressing if I do say so myself
  16. #17 Timesplasher, Feb 7, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2014
    Infinite possibilities may exist in a tea cup.
  17. The sky is blue. 
    Science should be working towards keeping it that way. 
  19. Lol, yeah I guess in my OP i kinda underestimated the size of infinity in some mathematical equations, 

    are you talking about global warming? 

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