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    1. #1
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      Terminally Out of Phase Descensus's Avatar
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      Last edited by BLUELINE976; 03-07-2011 at 04:14 AM.
      The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended. - Frédéric Bastiat
      I try to deny myself any illusions or delusions, and I think that this perhaps entitles me to try and deny the same to others, at least as long as they refuse to keep their fantasies to themselves. - Christopher Hitchens
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      About the first link, I'm not sure I see the guy's point. He complains about the magnification and where it was published, but has no real reason why it's fake. In fact, I'm not sure he pointed out one shred of actual evidence for its non-truth.

      In the second link, the man says it's possible that there's terrestrial contamination. He mentions the principle of "Occam's Razor" which I think is intensely silly. Why is the simplest theory preferred? To make people with simple minds happy. That's not how science should work and that's not how our minds should be taught, we should be taught to accept both theories as possible and go about.

      Anyway, neither of those links have anything "debunking" the original find. I'm waiting for the reviews mentioned in the second article, though.
      Last edited by Jesus of Suburbia; 03-07-2011 at 04:32 AM.

    4. #4
      Terminally Out of Phase Descensus's Avatar
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      PZ's point is that the credibility of the paper may be questionable due to where it's published. He also questions the paper itself as it seems to contain explanations about "carbonaceous chondrites, not well-honed arguments edited to promote concision or cogency." He does qualify his claims, if a bit harshly, but I'm not concerned with his tone. He also links to similar pieces about the paper, linked below.

      Aliens Riding Meteorites: Arsenic Redux or Something New? | Wired Science*| Wired.com

      RRResearch: Is this claim of bacteria in a meteorite any better than the 1996 one?
      The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended. - Frédéric Bastiat
      I try to deny myself any illusions or delusions, and I think that this perhaps entitles me to try and deny the same to others, at least as long as they refuse to keep their fantasies to themselves. - Christopher Hitchens
      Formerly known as BLUELINE976

    5. #5
      Terminally Out of Phase Descensus's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Jesus of Suburbia View Post
      In the second link, the man says it's possible that there's terrestrial contamination. He mentions the principle of "Occam's Razor" which I think is intensely silly. Why is the simplest theory preferred? To make people with simple minds happy. That's not how science should work and that's not how our minds should be taught, we should be taught to accept both theories as possible and go about.
      Plait says nothing of the sort.
      Clearly, Hoover thinks terrestrial contamination is unlikely. However, contamination, no matter how unlikely, is a more mundane explanation than extraterrestrial life, and Occam’s Razor will always shave very closely here. We have to be very, very clear that contamination was impossible before seriously entertaining the idea that these structures are space-borne life.
      It's not a case of entertaining those with simple minds. It's case of not jumping to conclusions:
      So, to conclude: a claim has been made about micro-fossils in a meteorite. The claims are interesting, the pictures intriguing, but we are a long, long way from knowing whether the claim is valid or not! We’ve been down this road before and been disappointed. As with any scientific claim, skepticism is needed, and in the case of extraordinary claims, well, you know the saying. [Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.]
      Anyway, neither of those links have anything "debunking" the original find. I'm waiting for the reviews mentioned in the second article, though.
      My point was not to debunk the find, but to show that there is reason to be skeptical.
      The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended. - Frédéric Bastiat
      I try to deny myself any illusions or delusions, and I think that this perhaps entitles me to try and deny the same to others, at least as long as they refuse to keep their fantasies to themselves. - Christopher Hitchens
      Formerly known as BLUELINE976

    6. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by BLUELINE976 View Post
      Plait says nothing of the sort.
      Clearly, Hoover thinks terrestrial contamination is unlikely. However, contamination, no matter how unlikely, is a more mundane explanation than extraterrestrial life, and Occam’s Razor will always shave very closely here. We have to be very, very clear that contamination was impossible before seriously entertaining the idea that these structures are space-borne life.
      It's not a case of entertaining those with simple minds. It's case of not jumping to conclusions:
      So, to conclude: a claim has been made about micro-fossils in a meteorite. The claims are interesting, the pictures intriguing, but we are a long, long way from knowing whether the claim is valid or not! We’ve been down this road before and been disappointed. As with any scientific claim, skepticism is needed, and in the case of extraordinary claims, well, you know the saying. [Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.]
      My point was not to debunk the find, but to show that there is reason to be skeptical.
      And I am skeptical. Like I said, I'm waiting for those reviews.

      However, that statement does not nullify where he says it's possible that it's contaminated.

      Also, I was talking about Occam's Razor in general, not just his usage of the term.

    7. #7
      Rational Spiritualist DrunkenArse's Avatar
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      It's funny. "The Journal of Cosmology", where the paper was published, lists Roger Penrose as a guest editor. He's sorta a crackpot but he's also undeniably one of the heavyweights of the twentieth century. They list him as specializing in string theory which is weird because he's been pretty down on string theory every time I've read anything by him about it.
      Previously PhilosopherStoned

    8. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by Jesus Of Suburbia
      He mentions the principle of "Occam's Razor" which I think is intensely silly. Why is the simplest theory preferred? To make people with simple minds happy.
      Occam's Razor isn't really "the simplest explanation is usually correct".
      It's "the theory that explains the given phenomena while making the least new assumptions is more likely to be correct."
      For example, we have a meteor with bacteria on it.
      It could be bacteria from Earth.
      - We know there is bacteria on Earth.
      - This meteor was found on Earth.

      It could be bacteria from somewhere else in space.
      - We don't know whether bacteria is anywhere else in space.
      - Meteors usually come from belts in space, not planets, so it is far fetched to assume one hit Earth, out of all the places it could have gone after being knocked off a planet.

      As you can see, the second hypothesis makes more assumptions and is least likely to be correct. It's not really a thing for simple minds and that is a very simple minded thing to say frankly.

    9. #9
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      Yeah, I won't get excited.

    10. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by ninja9578 View Post
      Yeah, I won't get excited.
      >Implying it's anything to get excited about
      >Implying anyone cares

    11. #11
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      If it was true it would be pretty exciting.
      All though maybe not coz it's only bacteria and it's obvious there's life somewhere
      else anyway so we don't need proof of that.

    12. #12
      Xei
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      Panspermia is a pretty silly 'explanation' to be honest. I highly doubt it is true.

    13. #13
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      You need to read some Carl Sagan books you pessimist you.
      Do you really think that out of the trillions of trillions of planets, this one is the only one that happens to have life on it?

      I have reasoned that if someone cannot reason that there is life on other planets, they have beliefs pertaining to humans being created by a god or some other mystical force.

    14. #14
      Xei
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      You don't know what panspermia is.

    15. #15
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      I read the Google preview of the wiki page....

      But also, if panspermia is correct, that means there would most likely be life on other planets.
      Last edited by tommo; 03-08-2011 at 04:30 PM.

    16. #16
      Xei
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      Yes but A implies B doesn't mean that B implies A. -_-

      I think there's plenty of life, but like I said, panspermia is not an explanation in any sense, nor does it seem likely.

    17. #17
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      I think it's a good explanation of how life got here.
      Life could have risen independently on a lot of different planets, but panspermia is still very possible. IMO
      Why do you think it's unlikely?

    18. #18
      Xei
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      Well, mainly because planets are so much bigger than asteroids. They have vastly more variation in the different chemical environments they host (plus asteroids are totally lacking in many respects such as substantial atmospheres to allow for cycles involving gases), and they have vastly more of those chemical environments, so life is vastly more likely to arise on a planet.

      There's also the fact that life that arises on a planet would be suited to survival in the chemical environment of that planet. Life from an asteroid would have a totally different chemical composition and so would die.

      Also I'm not sure how life survives the ridiculous temperatures as the asteroid burns through the atmosphere.

      Mostly I just find it bemusing that people tout this as an 'explanation' of where life comes from, without realising that it actually just postpones the issue (so how did life arise on the asteroid), as well as making it vastly more difficult.

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      Rational Spiritualist DrunkenArse's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Also I'm not sure how life survives the ridiculous temperatures as the asteroid burns through the atmosphere.
      This is the only point that isn't absolutely valid. The meteor is often still cold when it lands. The heat will melt the outer layer which the meteor sheds off before the heat transfers to the interior. So meteors can actually land and develop frost on them. This isn't always the case and depends on a lot of variables.

      Mostly I just find it bemusing that people tout this as an 'explanation' of where life comes from, without realising that it actually just postpones the issue (so how did life arise on the asteroid), as well as making it vastly more difficult.
      Quoted because it's so true it bears mentioning twice.
      Previously PhilosopherStoned

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      Some meteorites come from other planets, not just asteroids. We have found meteorites on Earth that originated from the Moon and Mars (as in something hit them and some debris ended up on Earth). I don't necessarily subscribe to panspermia but that would be the most likely explanation if it were to be true. If anything, Earth is probably the most likely source for panspermia of other worlds (if there were habitable planets/moons nearby). There have been quite a few large impacts since life began on Earth, maybe some Earth bacteria is floating around in space on ejected debris.

    21. #21
      Xei
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      I think the maths has been done actually, and planet to planet panspermia is just vanishingly improbable, based on how damn big space is.

      Quote Originally Posted by PhilosopherStoned View Post
      This is the only point that isn't absolutely valid. The meteor is often still cold when it lands. The heat will melt the outer layer which the meteor sheds off before the heat transfers to the interior. So meteors can actually land and develop frost on them. This isn't always the case and depends on a lot of variables.
      Awesome... although, I guess any life on the asteroid would have to be on the outer layer anyway.

    22. #22
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Mostly I just find it bemusing that people tout this as an 'explanation' of where life comes from, without realising that it actually just postpones the issue (so how did life arise on the asteroid), as well as making it vastly more difficult.
      Well we weren't really talking about how life arose. We're talking about possible ways life got here. I agree completely with that btw.
      I suppose it is sort of useless really, but it does provide a mechanism for life spreading to a lot of planets. Rather than rising independently everywhere life is.

      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Also I'm not sure how life survives the ridiculous temperatures as the asteroid burns through the atmosphere.
      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Awesome... although, I guess any life on the asteroid would have to be on the outer layer anyway.
      Well, not necessarily. But also, the bacteria would be frozen in space too. There's a chance it may not heat up sufficiently to die just by going through the Earth's, or other planet's atmosphere.

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      Quote Originally Posted by tommo View Post
      Well, not necessarily. But also, the bacteria would be frozen in space too. There's a chance it may not heat up sufficiently to die just by going through the Earth's, or other planet's atmosphere.
      Bacteria wouldn't necessarily be frozen in space. If it truly is alien life, you have no fucking clue how low of a temperature it can withstand.

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      Nothing is going to be too different from how life on Earth works. So yes I do have a fucking clue.
      And either way it's going to be really, really cold, even if it's not frozen, I really do not care. It would still be cold enough to not burn in the atmosphere.
      And again, Occam's Razor. Why would you assume that alien bacteria would not freeze?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Jesus of Suburbia View Post
      Bacteria wouldn't necessarily be frozen in space. If it truly is alien life, you have no fucking clue how low of a temperature it can withstand.
      Why would it not? space is pretty cold. Even on an asteroid, the rock is pretty cold also.

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