• RogueAI
    2.5k
    here is no evidence of anything in the world that does NOT behave consistently with physics, so why should we assume otherwise?

    I am a metaphysical naturalist because it's clear the natural world exists, and that its behavior is a entirely a consequence of laws of nature (approximated by physics). So I'd be very interested in hearing of something that disconfirms this.
    Relativist

    What if 10,000 years from now, we've surveyed millions of promising planets, have found no life anywhere else and still have no consensus on how it got started here? Would you just assume we got incredibly lucky somehow?
  • Relativist
    2.1k
    What if 10,000 years from now, we've surveyed millions of promising planets, have found no life anywhere else and still have no consensus on how it got started here? Would you just assume we got incredibly lucky somehow?RogueAI
    What do you mean by "lucky"? The universe is vast (possibly infinite) - if life is possible, then it's a near certainty that it would occur somewhere/somewhen. What does luck have to do with it?

    Regarding your hypothetical, you seem to be suggesting that anything we haven't figured out within the next 10,000 years, should be deemed miraculous. Personally, I don't have that much faith in our ability to figure things out. We have our limitations.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    Personally, I don't have that much faith in our ability to figure things out. We have our limitations.Relativist

    (this is not loaded by hte previous discussion - I think this is a really interesting question alone) Are you all good with the possibility that we cant know some empirical facts? I.e we should 'just give up', philosophically speaking, on answering certain Qs in practical terms?
  • Relativist
    2.1k
    Are you all good with the possibility that we cant know some empirical facts? I.e we should 'just give up', philosophically speaking, on answering certain Qs in practical terms?AmadeusD
    What are "empirical facts"? Empirical evidence is a body of facts (such as observations, measurements...), so "not knowing" empirical facts sounds self-contradictory.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    You've explained how to answer it in your response.
    (such as observations, measurements...Relativist

    Do you think there are observations, measurements etc.. That we cannot know? One such could be the observation that "Gene X, in concert with B, F and F^4, causes Life to arise out of sufficiently complex biological material". That is a fact which we, theoretically, could know. I am asking whether you accept, and are emotionally fine with, accepting that many of these we cannot actually know.
  • RogueAI
    2.5k
    What do you mean by "lucky"? The universe is vast (possibly infinite) - if life is possible, then it's a near certainty that it would occur somewhere/somewhen. What does luck have to do with it?

    Regarding your hypothetical, you seem to be suggesting that anything we haven't figured out within the next 10,000 years, should be deemed miraculous. Personally, I don't have that much faith in our ability to figure things out. We have our limitations.
    Relativist

    OK, assume a million years have gone by and we've surveyed countless worlds and we're the only one with life. And we still have no idea how it happened. How would that change your beliefs?
  • Relativist
    2.1k
    Do you think there are observations, measurements etc.. That we cannot know?AmadeusD
    Makes no sense. If we measured or observed something, we know what we measured/observed.

    One such could be the observation that "Gene X, in concert with B, F and F^4, causes Life to arise out of sufficiently complex biological material". That is a fact which we, theoretically, could know.
    If you're refering to cases where there is sufficient empirical evidence to develop theory - then sure, we'll probably develop theory. But our theories will necessarily be limited by what we can test and observe. Suppose there's a multiverse: other universes are causally isolated from us, so we could never verify such theory.

    I am asking whether you accept, and are emotionally fine with, accepting that many of these we cannot actually know.
    I accept our inherent limitations, and the consequences. That doesn't imply we should stop asking questions and investigating.
  • Relativist
    2.1k
    OK, assume a million years have gone by and we've surveyed countless worlds and we're the only one with life. And we still have no idea how it happened. How would that change your beliefs?RogueAI
    How many galaxies exist within a million light years of earth? Answer: 1. There are 2 trillion galaxies in just the observable universe.

    Life exists today, but it didn't exist early in the life of the universe. If only the natural world exists - then it necessarily arose naturally.

    I do not see that a failure to figure out abiogenesis somehow implies that something unnatural exists. If you think it does, then share your reasoning.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    I accept our inherent limitations, and the consequences. That doesn't imply we should stop asking questions and investigating.Relativist

    For the first part: I don't take your response as engaging with what I put forth, but it also doesn't matter. You've totally adequately answered me above.

    Nice. Yes, I am in that boat too.
  • RogueAI
    2.5k
    What do you mean by "lucky"? The universe is vast (possibly infinite) - if life is possible, then it's a near certainty that it would occur somewhere/somewhen. What does luck have to do with it?Relativist

    It wouldn't strike you as odd if it turns out we're the only life in the universe? That wouldn't be an incredibly surprising result?

    "Luck" would come in because it would mean that we inhabit one of the most (if not the most) special places in the observable universe: the only one where life is possible. That would mean we beat some really long odds. So far, our science is predicated on the notion that we're not in a really special or unique place in the cosmos. That would change.
  • Relativist
    2.1k
    It wouldn't strike you as odd if it turns out we're the only life in the universe? That wouldn't be an incredibly surprising result?RogueAI
    I think it's a certainty that life exists elsewhere in the universe, because the universe is so vast. That's very different from the question you asked. We only know life is possible, we don't know how probable it is. You suggested a scenario in which we searched for life for a million years and didn't find it. That would imply life is very rare: perhaps only one instance within a galaxy (it's physically impossible to search beyond our galaxy in a million years). That would still imply 2 trillion instances of life in the visible universe.
  • RogueAI
    2.5k
    I think it's a certainty that life exists elsewhere in the universe, because the universe is so vast.Relativist

    I agree, but after a million/billion/trillion years of searching and no other life and no account of abiogenesis, what do you think the implications for abiogenesis would be? I think they would be profound.
  • Patterner
    555
    it's physically impossible to search beyond our galaxy in a million yearsRelativist
    With our current technology. I suspect advancements to our technology will allow us to search beyond our galaxy in far less than a million years.
  • Relativist
    2.1k
    I agree, but after a million/billion/trillion years of searching and no other life and no account of abiogenesis, what do you think the implications for abiogenesis would be? I think they would be profound.RogueAI
    Show your reasoning and conclusion.
  • Patterner
    555

    Odd. I have a notification that you replied to me, and can see the beginning of your reply. But I can't see your reply here. Anyway, I'm not arguing the point. Just suggesting our technology will improve and allow us to see things we can't see now. But there's no way of knowing how much farther it will let us see, or if it will let us see as far as we need to for this line of thinking.
  • Relativist
    2.1k
    I had replied based on confusing you with RogueAI - so I based it on something he said. When I realized you were a different person, I erased that.

    Just suggesting our technology will improve and allow us to see things we can't see now. But there's no way of knowing how much farther it will let us see, or if it will let us see as far as we need to for this line of thinking.Patterner
    I agree we'll expand what we can see - but there are things we will never see. For example, it's possible there is a multiverse - but because each universe is causally isolated - we'll never have empirical verification. At best, it will be entailed by theory - but theories that can't be empirically verified are less credible. That's a problem with String Theory - it's an elegant theory that explains a lot, but it defies empirical verification.
  • Patterner
    555

    Indeed, difficult to see the strings.

    And, of course, by definition, we can't study another universe.

    Can't guess what we'll come to be able to do in our own, though.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    When I consider abiogenesis as a "natural" explanation of where life comes from, it seems to me that for some combination of particles to be the recipe for the first lifeform would just be a miraculous occurrence, even if and especially if, one excludes a supernatural explanation. Does anyone have perspective of it or an alternative theory? I am open to a "natural" explanation for life's origin, I'm just not sure an account can be given in natural terms without any miraculous occurrences.NotAristotle
    I do have a philosophical hypothesis of abiognesis (life from non-life), but it's a complex argument, involving quantum Uncertainty, Information theory, Evolution theory, Cosmology, and Entropy. There's nothing supernatural or miraculous about it, except for the same open-ended implication as Big Bang theory : something from nothing.

    The postulated creative force is labeled as "meta-physical" in the sense that, like Energy and Entropy, it can only be inferred from its effects, not known by its substance. "Energy" only implies non-directional (neutral) Change, but Entropy*2 (regressive tendency) implies destructive changes. So, what's missing is an explanation for Positive Causation, toward complexity and organization.

    Since Energy per se is aimless causation, if the emergence of life from non-life is a sign of anti-entropy (i.e. progress instead of regress), then some explanation for the mono-directional Arrow of Time*3 is needed, philosophically if not scientifically. This thesis merely combines Energy with Information (the positive power to transform). :smile:


    *1. Enformy :
    In the Enformationism theory, Enformy is a hypothetical, holistic, metaphysical, natural trend or force, that counteracts Entropy & Randomness to produce complexity & progress. [ see post 63 for graph ]
    *** I'm not aware of any "supernatural force" in the world. But my Enformationism theory postulates that there is a meta-physical force behind Time's Arrow and the positive progress of evolution. Just as Entropy is sometimes referred to as a "force" causing energy to dissipate (negative effect), Enformy is the antithesis, which causes energy to agglomerate (additive effect).
    *** Of course, neither of those phenomena is a physical Force, or a direct Cause, in the usual sense. But the term "force" is applied to such holistic causes as a metaphor drawn from our experience with physics.

    https://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page8.html

    *2. Entropy counter to arrow of Time :
    Rise in entropy in all physical systems and the resulting one-way slide of the universe from order to chaos, tending towards what physicists call its ‘heat death’.” ___Paul Davies, physicist
    Note --- Planet Earth is the primary example of Negative Entropy in the universe, where Life & Mind have emerged against all odds (second law of thermodynamics). Negentropy is an accepted scientific term, but Enformy is my own philosophical term for positive evolution.

    *3. Entropy is one of the few quantities in the physical sciences that require a particular direction for time, sometimes called an arrow of time. As one goes "forward" in time, the second law of thermodynamics says, the entropy of an isolated system can increase, but not decrease. ___Wikipedia
  • Benj96
    2.2k
    Since Energy per se is aimless causation, if the emergence of life from non-life is a sign of anti-entropy (i.e. progress instead of regress), then some explanation for the mono-directional Arrow of Time*3 is needed, philosophically if not scientifically.Gnomon

    It's possible time doesnt exist outside the realm of what living things perceive.

    I give you an example: imagine a living thing with zero memory. It doesn't even recall the last millisecond of its existence.

    Does it experience? Can it live -feel hunger, a urge to breathe, instinctive compulsions? Can it anticipate a future? Would it be capable of learning and adapting?

    In this case, positive causation and entropy are mutually synergistic.

    Without positive causation, entropy cannot be observed (ie the arrow of time cannot be experienced). Without entropy, positive causation or the tendency towards order, sumilarly cannot exist
  • Patterner
    555

    If it cannot do/experience any of those things, will it still get old and die?
  • Benj96
    2.2k
    it will never even live in the first place, how could it? Oops I forgot to breathe. The nervous system requires memory for comparison to the current state for basic repetitive functions
  • Patterner
    555

    Might it not starve to death, whether or not it remembers that it has not eaten?
  • Benj96
    2.2k
    without memory in the most primitive sense, the brain could not do any repetitive task with regularity, predictability etc. Starving to death would be the least of their problems.

    The innate sense of passage of time from circadian rhythms in the brain of an organism allows ot to stabilises itself (maintain order ie not die).

    This is why I think the passage of time differs from entropy in that one (entropy) occurs regardless of consciousness, but time - is the mental equivalent of entropy. An analogy for it based on the ability to sense a past, therefore have a present, therefore by deductive anticipate a future.
  • Patterner
    555

    Sure. Still, is it not alive, and starving to death because it has not eaten?
  • Benj96
    2.2k
    I don't really get what you're asking. I'm saying that the ability to be aware of time has to evolve simultaneously with the organisation of a system. You can't suddenly have a living system devoid of time perception and see if it starves to death. Its a hypothetical.

    One didn't fabricate this living organism from thin air. It gradually emerged.
  • Relativist
    2.1k
    One didn't fabricate this living organism from thin air. It gradually emerged.Benj96

    It's possible time doesnt exist outside the realm of what living things perceive.Benj96

    Those two statements seem inconsistent. How could something gradually emerge if there is no passage of time?
  • Patterner
    555

    You said, "It's possible time doesnt exist outside the realm of what living things perceive." I think time exists regardless of living things' perception of it, and a living thing is still subject to it's passage, whether or not it is aware of that passage.

    Could be a living thing that has its ability to remember destroyed. Even on life support, it will eventually die because of what happens to it as time passes.
  • Benj96
    2.2k
    Those two statements seem inconsistent. How could something gradually emerge if there is no passage of timeRelativist

    Entropy. Entropy isn't contingent on living things. Passage of time is (the perception of Entropy as a unidirectional arrow of events) because it relies on memory and comparison beyween memory and current sensory input
  • RogueAI
    2.5k
    As we continue to not discover life and Earth is revealed to inhabit a more and more special place in the universe (and abiogensis remains unexplained), theories that predict humans are special will get an epistemic boost. These theories would be mostly religious, but simulation theory would become much more credible. A universe with only us in it would look extremely suspicious, wouldn't you agree?
  • Patterner
    555

    Of course, there's the possibility that we discover life all over the place.

    But sure, let's just say. I guess I would wonder why something created the simulation of such an outrageous size, and only simulated life where we are.
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