• tonylang
    3
    The LINE Scenario: A Thought Experiment;

    Earth is gone. Complements of some natural occurrence, you name it. Perhaps a primordial black hole or giant rogue planet that happens to be passing through this solar system which sends the Earth into direct collision with Jupiter. Or perhaps there is an immense solar flare that perturbs Earths' orbit, sending our magnificent crucible for life careening into the sun. Result? All that you, and I, and your pet otter were, every cell and every DNA molecule, every atom that was on, or in the Earth, is now ionized nuclear fuel within the sun. The Darwinian evolved chemistry and biology that many fall back upon to describe life on Earth, particularly human life, has ceased to exist in this solar system. Along with its thermodynamically described chemistry and biological processes once used to describe the entirety of Earths' ecosystem.

    Additionally, imagine if you will that there is life elsewhere in this universe. Let us imagine there exists at least one other evolved ecosystem (ECO-2) capable of hosting Darwinian life. Different from Earth but governed by the same laws of physics and biology and thermodynamic processes that manifested Earths' ecology. This planet orbiting a viable star may be located anywhere in this universe since the laws of physics are expected to be consistently applied throughout. Also for this anecdote, let us say that this other bastion of life is some 10 billion light-years from Earths' sun. A distance so vast it would take much longer than the age of the big-bang to relativistically travel that distance, assuming, of course, there were any classically defined remnants of ones' biology left to make the journey.

    The question becomes; could you or I or any individual formerly hosted by Earth's ecology ever find oneself a part of ECO-2s' ecology? Is the nature of life in this universe such that one could at some point find oneself naturally born to ECO-2 in the form of a species indigenous (present or future) to ECO-2, just as we were born on Earth to species indigenous to Earths' ecology? If one adheres solely to the classically understood, thermodynamically described, relativistically constrained mechanisms to explain life writ large then you are forced to say no, and in so doing you would necessarily be Earth and human-centric as one discounts the rest of the cosmos. Because in nature, what is possible here is necessarily possible elsewhere, ergo; if you can live here, you can live anywhere. And yet, clearly, some aspect of what biologically, thermodynamically, chemically, defined ones' singular existence on Earth, must relativistically (Below the speed of light) travel to bridge the unbridgeable distance between your last physical location, Earths' solar system, and ECO-2s'.
  • alan1000
    192
    A valid question although, to be honest Tony, unnecessarily verbose!

    The question you raise is central to Fermi's Paradox. it could be condensed as follows: suppose there is just one other civilisation comparable to our own, and it happens to be on the other side of the universe, billions of light years away. This would resolve Fermi's Paradox, since we would NOT be alone in the universe; but the other civilisation would be so far away we would have no means to communicate with it or even discover its existence, unless we can find out some alternative physics, such as diving into a wormhole, which at this stage is pure fantasy. Light and information from such a civilisation would take at least 13.75 billion years to reach us; to reply, or travel there (at the speed of light!), would take the same amount of time; just do the sums.
  • Frog
    11


    My reply to that would be: not consciously. Perhaps, if enough time passed between the end of Earthly civilisation, and the beginning of ECO-2, the stardust our cells have now become may find themselves hurtling in all directions, after our sun's supernova, and by "chance," (though I don't happen to believe in such a thing) making its way to the solar system of ECO-2, and being consumed by a pregnant ECO-2 organism, and integrating into the child in the form of the matter of a single cell or two. In that case, one would technically be part of ECO-2's ecology. But I would not describe this as what you have described, as "[being] naturally born to ECO-2."

    A second position to consider would be a more spiritual one, one that believes in a part of a human outside of a body, a "soul." In his Theologus Autodidactus, Ibn al-Nafīs describes how he believes the afterlife works:

    According to al-Nafīs, the coccyx of the body is the beginning of growth, and is indestructible. Once a person dies, the rest of his body decomposes and ceases to be human, and only his coccyx remains forever. In the afterlife, the body is constantly regenerated from the coccyx (either into suffering, or into "paradise").

    If one subscribes to a theory like al-Nafīs', then ones soul would live on beyond the destruction of the earth, and may be able to, after either billions of years (if the soul is attached to a physical form, like al-Nafīs describes) of an arbitrary amount of time at which an object with no mass would travel to ECO-2 (perhaps at light speed, perhaps beyond), to take form or be reborn into ECO-2.
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