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Old 02-12-2000, 06:27 AM   #41
wizzywig
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Connor--

Thanks for the heads-up on that book--I hadn't heard about it, but it's been getting a lot of media attention. It was just released this month, and it's already ranked No. 87 on Amazon.com. Here are some of the reviews it's gotten:

Rare Earth : Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe
by Peter Douglas Ward, Donald Brownlee

Price: $27.50

Seattle Times, February 6, 2000
It's a thought that grips most everyone who stares into the unfathomable depths of a star-speckled night: Is there anybody out there? The odds, say Peter Ward and Don Brownlee, are probably more remote than you think. Earth, they contend, is simply too special, the result of myriad physical conditions missing from most of the universe, with just enough time and other circumstances to let complicated life arise. "We consider it to be random chance and luck," said Brownlee, a University of Washington astronomer. "Mostly luck...." "We really hope in our heart of hearts that we're completely wrong," said Ward. "We want there to be lots of life out there. We want every star around us to have intelligent life. But as scientists, here's what the evidence in our short lives and our narrow imaginations tells us. We say at the end of the book, perhaps this book is simply a failure of imagination."

From Scientific American
Unlike many scientists who think that intelligent life may be abundant in the universe, Ward and Brownlee contend that any life found on other planets is most likely to be primitive--microbes or their equivalents. They advance what they call the Rare Earth Hypothesis, holding that Earth is probably rare among planets in orbiting a star that has had a fairly constant output of energy for billions of years and in being "of suitable size, chemical composition, and distance from the sun to enable life to thrive." Primitive organisms thrive on Earth in such harsh environments as hydrothermal vents, the authors note, and harsh conditions are likely to be the norm on other planets able to support any kind of life. Ward and Brownlee are at the University of Washington, where Ward is professor of geological sciences and zoology and Brownlee is professor of astronomy. Although simple life is probably abundant in the universe, they say, "complex life--animals and higher plants--is likely to be far more rare than is commonly assumed."

London Times, January 26, 2000
"If they are right it could be time to reverse a process that has been going on since Copernicus."

New York Times , February 8, 2000
"...Rare Earth...is producing whoops of criticism and praise...[some] call it 'brilliant' and 'courageous'."

Northwest Science & Technology, Winter 2000
A provocative, significant, and sweeping new book... Rare Earth is a fast-paced, thought-provoking read that I gobbled like popcorn. It's one of those rare books that is at once delightful, informative, and important: and end-of-the-millennium synthesis of science that tackles the central question of our past, place, and destiny.

The New York Times, Science Times, February 8, 2000
Maybe We Are Alone in the Universe, After All
Their book, "Rare Earth" (Springer-Verlag), out last month, is producing whoops of criticism and praise, with some detractors saying that the authors have made their own simplistic assumptions about the adaptability of life forms while others call it "brilliant" and "courageous."

"We have finally said out loud what so many have thought for so long -- that complex life, at least, is rare," said Dr. Peter D. Ward of the University of Washington, a paleontologist who specializes in mass extinctions and whose previous works include "The Call of Distant Mammoths" (Springer-Verlag, 1997). "And to us, complex life may be a flatworm."

Dr. Geoffrey W. Marcy, University of California at Berkeley - Quoted in The New York Times
"It's brilliant...courageous...It's rare in literature and science that a stance goes so far against the grain."

Scientific American, February 1, 2000: Editor's Choice
"Unlike many scientists who think that intelligent life may be abundant in the universe, Ward and Brownlee contend that any life found on other planets is most likely to be primitive--microbes or their equivalents. They advance what they call the Rare Earth Hypothesis, holding that Earth is probably rare among planets in orbiting a star that has had a fairly constant output of energy for billions of years and in being "of suitable size, chemical composition, and distance from the sun to enable life to thrive." Primitive organisms thrive on Earth in such harsh environments as hydrothermal vents, the authors note, and harsh conditions are likely to be the norm on other planets able to support any kind of life. Ward and Brownlee are at the University of Washington, where Ward is professor of geological sciences and zoology and Brownlee is professor of astronomy. Although simple life is probably abundant in the universe, they say, "complex life--animals and higher plants-! -is likely to be far more rare than is commonly assumed."



Here's the Rare Earth page at Amazon.com: RareEarthAtAmazon.Com

--wiz




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Old 02-13-2000, 08:00 PM   #42
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To all--

I presume everybody here has a strong interest in Star Wars (duh!), which presupposes an interest in alien life. But how many here actually believe they have good reason to believe in the existence of ETIs?

Anybody here (besides me) ever see a UFO?

Is there any visitation or contact evidence that you consider strong, valid evidence of ETIs?

BTW, whatever happened to the reports of fossilized Martian microbes that were found in meteorites in Antarctica? Someone told me that it had been debunked, but I never saw any reports of that.

--wizzywig
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Old 02-14-2000, 12:29 AM   #43
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I haven't seen a UFO, and I heard that martian thing was debunked too, although I have no real source.

I don't think anyone here would like my theory on what is actually visiting people. Most of them are hoaxes of course, but I think something could be happening.

Hint: My theory involves demons. For some people, believing in aliens involves dropping God for some reason, and what better for a demon to do than lead people from God?

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Old 02-14-2000, 02:36 AM   #44
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I'd like to share a story that was once told to me. It is really the kind of story that should be told around the campfire late at night, when the stars are out. It opened my eyes, or from another perspective may have closed them.

I was in boy scouts and we drove for about 2 hours to this plot of land that was owned by one of the troup leader's close friends. We all gathered around the fire and told stories, of which brought up the topic about alien life and ufo experiences. The fella that owned the land was a true Texan, if you know what I mean. The accent was what really gave his story substance, so just try to imagine what it would be like to listen to somebody straight out of the old west trying to convince everyone of alien life.

His story started out as would any ufo sighting - he and his friends were sitting in his back yard drinking a few beers. Lawn chairs and everything, he went into such detail about how they were situated. They were all reclined in their chairs, looking at the stars, sipping some fine 69 cent beers, and having lost even a trace of any inhibitions. As would any skeptical person, I was laughing to myself at what I knew he was going to say.

He said all of a sudden he saw the most beautiful thing fly from one side of the sky to the other. It glowed bright orange, and had triangular form. It didn't behave as a meteor should, and it flew far too fast to be anything man-made. He said he hardly believed his eyes, yet his friends recognized the event as well. The object was so convincing they decided to wait until they saw it again.

After many hours, he and his friends' patience payed off. Yet again the same triangular object writhing an incandescent orange flew across the sky, this time in an even more sporadic fashion. A little alcohol may cause some strange visions in the brain, but the fact that all of these people saw the exact same thing had me wondering. His story really started to sound believable.

Of course the second sighting blew their minds, so their eyes stayed glued to the sky. They even started to wonder if maby they had all been mistaken. But sure enough another vehicle jetted across, and then another, and another. And just as his story had me hooked...

He wasn't afraid to admit it, and we all had a good laugh. The hot air from his chimney had just enough energy to give the burnt embers of his fire the momentum they needed to travel up the draft, catch the wind, and glow from the rich supply of oxygen as they passed just mere feet over the now humbled eyes of too many men who wanted to believe.

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And there he is. The reigning champion of the Boonta Classic, and the crowd favorite-TheAhnFahn
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Old 02-14-2000, 02:52 AM   #45
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That's good. My UFO sighting, btw, involved neither beer nor chimney embers.

--wiz

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Old 02-14-2000, 04:13 AM   #46
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I once thought I saw a light that one might have considered a "UFO" several years back. That is not to say that it was a flying saucer from outer space. But I saw something I couldn't explain at the time. I only saw it for a brief instant, a small bright light that flew straight up past my upper story window one night. I now think it was probably a firefly or other insect reflected by light of the moon. I was half asleep at the time anyway, so I'd doubt myself. ; )

Really though, I have heard alot of websites on the 'net (and talked to people) where they insist that they know that UFO's are demons visiting us.

I frankly do not believe in UFO's. I think that alot of the UFO sightings can be explained via wishful thinking/optical illusions, and also secret military stuff (remember the Cold War?). To assume it is angels, demons or intelligent aliens is a stretch. I think if there are ETI's, then they are probably too far away to come here, and then why would they visit us? Why would they bother, and why would they be so clumsy? And why not simply contact us and tell us what's up (not spend 70-some odd years crashing into our planet, stealing cows, scaring rednecks, and showing up in blurry photos).

I don't think that there is any logical reason to think that UFOs are leading people "away from God" so this disposes of the "demons theory" for me.

Unless I get some conclusive evidence to confirm those theories, I hold them with the utmost suspicion. I think that they certainly, *could* be true, but then again, it could be any number of other (and probably more plausible) things as well.

Some anti-religious folks think that if "alien life" is somehow proven to exist outside the earth, and especially if it is intelligent life, and especially if it is life more advanced than us, it will shatter the world's religions. Why? They say that since mankind views himself as "special" in the eyes of God, and thus aliens would invalidate and shatter forever that fragile ego. It would also invalidate the creation stories of just about every major religion, they insist. To me, again, they said this same thing back when evolution came out, then the big bang. Yes, finally, this will get people to stop believing in God!

But I see no problem at all. Really, if ETI's exist, it only affirms my belief in an omnipotent creator. If God can create a world with intelligent life, why not more than one, or perhaps hundreds or even thousands? We might be able to learn something from these intelligent beings. Perhaps they are wicked, or perhaps they are flawed, like us, or perhaps they are unfallen, a "good" people set apart. In any case, we'd learn alot about our cosmos, ourselves and our creator from the discovery. It certainly would not shatter my faith. When I ceased to be a child, I realized that the world did not revovle around me and my desires, and I think alot of people understand this truth. If they don't, then I feel sorry for them.

Kurgan

[This message has been edited by Darth Kurgan (edited February 14, 2000).]
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Old 02-14-2000, 05:04 AM   #47
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Well said.

No, it doesn't really matter whether aliens exist or not, or whether they are visiting us.

On another note, who thinks the world is going to end on May 5, 2000 with the planetary alignements?

I've heard three theories:

-Earth tilts on its axis and all hell breaks loose.

-Solar storms knock down all the sattelites and cause a big mess.

-Nothing whatsoever.

Seeing as how 'nothing whatsoever' neatly describes nearly every doomsday bit, I am leaning towards that one.

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-J.R.R. Tolkien
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Old 02-14-2000, 05:17 AM   #48
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Conor--

"Nothing whatsoever."

Kurgan--

Well stated. I never saw any conflict between Christian faith and the existence of ETIs. (If one buys the whole biblical worldview, aren't angels and demons ETIs?)

And in view of the RARE EARTH p.o.v., the existence of ETIs would only serve to further demonstrate the existence of God, since ETIs could only come about (as humans did) by divine intervention, not random chance.

--wiz

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Old 02-14-2000, 08:24 AM   #49
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Planetary alignment?!?

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Old 02-14-2000, 12:09 PM   #50
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Fellow beings,

Only through the suggestion of my good friend, Lord Ender, an undying patience, and an unsatiable appetite for the truth and/or great discussions, all together, have I been able to pour over every word in this thread with equal care and consideration, and enjoy what I have read immensely. Nevermind that my first words to you all came in the form of a run-on sentence, I hate periods. I also talk too much but from these discussions I see that won't be much of a problem here, =). And on a side note: damn you Ender I'm not gonna get any sleep tonight because of you, I'll probably sleep through logic and psych class now, =).

That said, I think everyone here has brought up good points, and through more or less logical arguments and reasoning, came to agree more or less on at least a few things. Everyone is biased, even these scientists who try not to be. You can't be a human being without being biased, it's how you see the world through past experiences and can be traced even genetically, psychologically, and biologically. We can't know for sure if there exists alien life, or if none exists at all. Even if we somehow managed to pool every possible resource of mankind throughout the ages into the most convincing argument that indeed, no other real life besides that which exists on our planet Earth exists, that doesn't mean we couldn't be wrong even then. I can just picture in the future some event like this taking place and then, just to spite us, some undeniable proof arrives and we all just throw down our evidence to the contrary, scratch our heads, and say "Ah ****, I guess we were wrong." Likewise until such proof arrives I can't think of any argument that could convince me that alien life does exist, based on the argument alone. Personally, I don't "think" alien life exists, at least in what (I think) we're debating it as: an equal or superior race to human beings. But I recognize well the possibility that it very well could, and if such life was proven to exist, I wouldn't be very surprised, but rather excited. I like when the limits of reasonable possibility are shattered, and we are given a much greater picture of reality, as we know it, to play with. It's part of loving the truth, while hoping for some unimaginable fantasy-reality to really be out there waiting for us to break through to and experience full on.

I think another big problem with everyone getting personal and disagreeing with each other here, other than personal bias, is what terms we use and how we label things. Any one of us has a set of terms that we have come personally to know and use in our own understanding. Our vocabularies are all well-advanced, and we take pride in using the full range of terms not only to show our intellectual prowess to others, but because to us each term as we understand it seems to fit in its place better than any other. The problem is that it is very unlikely that any two of us use every term in our respective vocabularies exactly the same. I've been entrenched in numerous debates where we argued over terms, when we thought we were arguing over truths, evidence, proofs, etc. The reason I used 3 words in that last sentence is because you all probably perceive each slightly different than I do as well as everyone else. Yes, they have commonly agreed upon definitions, but they also have a personal attatchment to each of us from how we learned and use them ourselves. Aside from that, there are terms we use that really don't have a specific, universal definition, and they mean different things to different people. To be more accurate, we use these terms to mean what we want them to mean. These are the real problems. For example, a debate on the definitions of PK and PvPing went on without ever being settled until someone pointed out that the two sides were in total agreement with each other, they just didn't want to be labeled something they thought they weren't, or they always understood those terms differently than the other side. As this relates to this thread, I think when various people have mentioned "alien life" and the like, they are referring to different things altogether. Even when you explain what you mean, people can and do interpret that in different ways. It's what makes us all unique and valuable to each other; it also creates chaos and disputes even when we are in basic agreement. Both sides can justify their side logically and reasonably, but since they aren't really talking about the same, objective thing, they disagree with each other.

As an off topic remark. I was supposed to finish up a certain chapter of reading in my Logic book tonight for tomarrow's lecture, yet by reading this thread alone, with all these great minds flowing with genuine, passionate energy in a most fascinating debate, I believe I've learned more from this study of logical debate than I could learn from that entire book sitting on my bed still open 20 pages from the end of the chapter. That is a good example of why I list one of my two interests as people, (and that being the only specific one): we can learn (and enjoy) much more from each other engaged in discussions we really care about than we can ever hope to learn from any college course (especially if there is no passion to be found there). I don't really give a **** if alien life exists, because we are so far from our own limitations we don't need it to. We, as a race, aren't at the end of our rope, we just haven't all learned (or we forgot) how to use the damn thing. Sure, like I said before, if it's proven that alien life exists I'll be excited because it will open doors and broaden our horizons of what we perceive as reality. But there is so much untapped potential here already, that such a finding is really unneccesary. (<--- I'm still not sure I spelled that right, what a complex language we have.)

I "think" that the people who really think alien life exists, or want it to, have just grown bored of, or given up on, the human race. Believe me I have too, more times than I'd care to admit, and I will again to be sure. I was the most cynical bastard you could ever find rotting in a pit of pessemistic despair in disdain of humanity. I saw myself as one of the "chosen few" who were given true enlightenment while I walked among a lesser race of lost souls, whom was called upon now and then to lead them out of their ignorance. And of course I was very religious, thinking myself a servant of God, if not personally in close ties with the "Master Plan". I won't go into how exactly I was repeatedly humbled and shown what I have come to believe is the "real truth", but suffice it to say I am only intermittenly cynical now, and I think there is still hope for humanity. I could be wrong about why people think, or want to believe, alien life exists, after all everyone believes it for their own reason. But for some people I think it has roots in this theory. To look somewhere else for the "Answer", since human beings are incapable of producing it for us. It would be interesting to find out the real personal reasons why each of you, who do believe, think alien life exists. Likewise why you, who do not believe, think alien life does not. Personally, this would be a much more interesting discussion than debating over something which neither side can prove as yet, and I believe everyone has already come to the table with anything sufficient on that matter anyway. Who is with me?

Thank you all for your time and patience, I hope to continue even more interesting discussions with you great people in the near future.

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Old 02-14-2000, 03:56 PM   #51
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Greetings, Vaquel, and welcome to the fray--

Re:

Quote:
I "think" that the people who really think alien life exists, or want it to, have just grown bored of, or given up on, the human race.
I tend to believe in ETIs (and ET life in general), and I think I'm fairly optimistic about the prospects for the human race (though just as soon as I get a little too optimistic, some representative of our fair species comes along and busts my chops and brings me back to reality).

My beliefs are founded in evidences such as the Cydonia structures (the latest attempt by NASA to photograph the region and "debunk" the face on Mars was so pathetic it only reinforced my belief that there's something up there). I have a friend who was on the original SRI team that did the photographic analysis for Richard Hoaglund. I'm convinced that the Monuments of Mars evidence is very real.

There's a lot more to this universe of ours than meets the eye.

Re:
Quote:
I was very religious, thinking myself a servant of God, if not personally in close ties with the "Master Plan". I won't go into how exactly I was repeatedly humbled and shown what I have come to believe is the "real truth", but suffice it to say I am only intermittenly cynical now, and I think there is still hope for humanity.
I'd be interested in the specifics of your "real truth," which you might sometime explain, either here or in the New God Thread in the Racer forum. You might also want to check out the original "Does God Exist?" thread in the Racer forum--it can't be accessed from the main Racer page due to a glitch of some sort, but it can be accessed from the links in the first message of the New God Thread--or I can email you the entire thread in a Word97 file (it's 2.9 MB, so beware!).

C'ya...

--wiz

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Old 02-15-2000, 12:46 AM   #52
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I have posted further reasons for believing in ETIs in a separate thread, "Alien Life at Roswell?" in the Cantina.

--wiz

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Old 02-15-2000, 05:37 AM   #53
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I found a site that's loaded with links to info on the Martian meteorites and possible microbes and nanobes therein. It is: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/snc/index.html

A quick scan of some of the linked articles tells me that scientists are tending to view any lifeforms in Martian objects as having evolved from the same stock as Earth lifeforms. In other words, life arose once in our solar system, then migrated as the result of asteroid and comet collisions early in the history of our solar system sending chunks of life-bearing debris out into space where it rained down and "contaminated" other planets with life.

Now the question remains: Where did the first lifeforms originate? On earth? Or on a much earlier, warmer, wetter Mars?

--wiz

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Old 02-15-2000, 03:49 PM   #54
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Vaquel,

Welcome. My personal thought is that there probably is alien life in the universe. Not because it comforts me, brings me some sort of soulful bliss, or even gives me hope that something better than Humanity lies out there somewhere. The reasons for my supposition are rather sterile actually.

I think that extra-terrestrial life exists because, from my own common sense, it would be statistically improbable for it to not exist. Yes, I know that there are others who feel differently, and bring up their own numbers to prove their sincerity. But make no mistake. We Humans are far to ignorant to understand the circumstances in which life can flourish. We can't even see beyond our own backyard, leaving us an insigificant statistical population of one star system to study. However, using our own system as a template, I find it very probable that other similar star systems exist among the billions of stars in our very own Galaxy, forget the rest of the universe. And if other star systems similar to our own exist in our galaxy, then the door is open to the development of life, and hence intelligent life as well. Furthermore, if there is at least one other galaxy among the millions in the universe that are similar to our own, then again, the possibilities of life increase accordingly, etc, etc, etc.

So, I feel that alien life is probable, not because I want to believe, but because it seems more likely that it could exist, than it could not.

wizzywig,

Incidently, I don't believe that there are alien structures on Mars. I've observed the side-by-side of the first -vs- the latest images of the face on Mars photos. It is clear that there is no face structure, and that the face was mearly shadows falling in a coincidental pattern that created the image of a face. I do believe that Mars may have once had life, and perhaps still does have some microbial life. But I doubt that intelligent life arose on Mars.


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Old 02-15-2000, 04:39 PM   #55
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You may be right, Vagabond.

I personally suspect, however, based on evidence Richard C. Hoagland has uncovered, that NASA doctored the more recent photo--not by anything as crude as actually manipulating or "airbrushing" segments of the image, but by screwing around with the display resolution. Hoagland's analysis indicates the most recent NASA image presents only half the spatial resolution data received by the orbiting camera. The image also only offers 42 grayscale values out of a possible 256. Other images sent back by the same mission were of the full-resolution, 256-value variety.

Why did NASA base its case on an image of such degraded quality? Why did NASA deliberately choose to position Mars Global Surveyor in such a way as to obtain such an oblique angle of the "face"? Why did NASA use high-pass filtering on the image, which washes out most of the valuable grayscale information? It's the equivalent of putting gauze over your camera lens when taking a snapshot--not the best way to gather quality evidence, IMO.

Here's the side-by-side comparison you are talking about:



Vagabond, I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just saying there are a lot of unanswered questions about these photos in my mind. And the analysis of the entire Cydonia region shows mathematical regularities and structures that suggest intelligent construction. It could all be a trick of light and shadow, of course, but IMO the evidence is still out, and NASA has done little to resolve the matter.

Why would NASA engage in a coverup? Back in the 1960s, the Brookings Institution did a study for NASA that recommended that if the government ever found evidence of ETIs, the evidence should be suppressed because it would bring about social collapse. One of the contributors to that study was Margaret Mead, the anthropologist, who had seen the collapse of primitive Pacific cultures when they came into contact with advanced Western cultures. She felt contact with advanced ETIs would do the same to humanity.

I don't believe Brookings is right--I think we would handle ETI contact fine--but I strongly suspect the government continues to follow those recommendations. Which explains the Army's behavior at Roswell and the possible doctoring of NASA photos.

Remember, too, the face isn't the only feature of interest; it is part of a cluster of regular structures in the Cydonia region, and NASA made a deliberate choice to focus only on the face and not even photograph the other Cydonia features on its so-called "Global Surveyor" mission. Very odd. [See http://www.enterprisemission.com/jplimaging.html ]

Like you, Vagabond, I don't believe a civilization ever arose on Mars. I would see the Cydonia structures (if they are structures) more likely as evidence of an outpost of a old visiting culture, not evidence of an indigenous Martian civilization.

Here's Hoagland's own explanation of the photographic anomalies: http://www.enterprisemission.com/shrunk.html

And here are enhanced and comparison images: http://www.enterprisemission.com/shrunk.html[/url] http://www.enterprisemission.com/images/features.jpg http://www.enterprisemission.com/images/faces13.jpg http://www.enterprisemission.com/images/facecomp.jpg http://www.enterprisemission.com/images/morncomp.jpg http://mpfwww.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/targe...tp_bot_med.gif

--wiz




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Old 02-15-2000, 05:06 PM   #56
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wizzywig,

Quote:
Why would NASA engage in a coverup?
My thought is that they haven't. My reasoning is that if they were willing to go out on a limb and claim that they had evidence of life on Mars based off of the controversial tests results on their Martian meteorite, then I'd likewise suspect that they'd be willing to confirm the presence of intelligently built structures on Mars as well.

Why didn't they use a better camera angle or resolution? You're asking the wrong person. We weren't in the control room at the time, but speculation could be that the spacecraft was not in an optimum orbital position to take as perfect a picture of that exact location as the Viking spacecraft. Who knows? You'll have to ask them.

As to government coverups (not NASA), I suspect there could be something there. Especially the Roswell case. Too many witnesses, and too many fishy stories coming from the government seems to indicate that they are not being forthcoming, for whatever reason.

Regarding ET life having an adverse impact on Terran civlizations, I agree that this is a distinct possibility. Turn the table and look at it from this angle:

Humans have dominated every life form they have encounterd because they arrogantly believe that they are superior and have a God-given right to be masters of the universe. I likewise believe if Terrans were to encounter less-advanced intelligent life, that our contact with these beings would be disastrous for them. Finally, who's to say a more advanced intelligent life form couldn't have our same shortcomings and see us as we see cattle, lesser creatures to be exploited as they see fit?

Having said all that, I'd love for aliens to make contact with us, IF they had benevolent, non-hostile intentions.


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Old 02-15-2000, 07:34 PM   #57
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Of course one should realize that if for example these "alien conquistidors" were intent on conquering us, our knowing about it, really wouldn't help.

I would think NASA (with constant cuts in budget, etc) would grasp onto ANY reason to get themselves more funding (especially public enthusiasm from alien reports, rumors). So I think they would be the last person to lie in favor of their not being alien civilizations when there actually were.

As far as the government, well considering all the stuff they HAVE lied about in the past (especially during the cold war years) there's no telling what they MIGHT be lying about now, but that's more of a pessimist attitude (unfortunately based on historical fact..). Are we any better now then we were 50 years ago? I often wonder.

Of course we could attempt to resist the alien invaders, but I fear it would end up the same as the Native American resistance to the European conquest.

Superior technology (especially militarily), and ambition would eventually lead to our defeat and colonization/subordination/assimiliation (or even anhiliation).

Conspiracy theorists (and X-files fans) would probably then insist that certain world leaders are simply making back alley "deals" with the alien invaders to "lessen their impact" but we're still in for trouble in the long run. Tie this into the coming New World Order, and you have a great alarmist report about the future. I tend to view this suspiciously, but then again, it might be true.. you never know (Kurgan is gunned down by assassins, and his death is covered up, authorities deny his existence). ; )

Kurgan
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Old 02-15-2000, 08:21 PM   #58
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Regarding contact with other civlizations, I think Carl Sagan said it best. To paraphrase, he said that if conflict ever arose between two space-faring civlizations, it is unlikely that anything resembling Star Wars would result. Rather, one civlization would most likely be far more advanced than the other, and any war would be a short-lived, lopsided afair.

This I tend to agree with. It is far more likley that intelligent life exists in the universe, than the likelihood that two technologically equivalent space-faring civlizations should meet up resulting a prolonged conflict. That seems highly improbable to me. Not imposible as eventually it would probably happen, but very unlikely; definitely the exception rather than the rule.


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Old 02-28-2000, 06:16 AM   #59
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I've checked at two different Barnes & Nobles in cities about 300 miles apart, trying to find a copy of RARE EARTH, which was supposed to be released this month. Well, this month is just about gone, and neither store had a copy--but they offered to order it for me. (Hey, I have a computer and I know how to type in Amazon.com--I can order it myself, thanks!)

Has anyone seen the book?

--wiz

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Old 03-06-2000, 03:16 AM   #60
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I watched a show on the Learning Channel and took a good look at the Drake equation. It seems like a fairly good guide to the existence of life. I don't understand how it has ever been used to support life however. The evidence from Rare Earth effectively limits the equation to zero. Without RE I don't know where they got their numbers, but they are so high I'd really like to know. One of the factors is utterly unknowable at this time, and maybe for all time (that of how long an intelligent culture will last).

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Old 03-07-2000, 05:49 AM   #61
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I just ordered RARE EARTH from Amazon.com--they're offering it (finally) for 30 percent off the list price (B&N won't stock it, but they'll order it for you at full $27.50 retail--TBNT).

I'm sure the book addresses the Drake Equations and fine-tunes the numbers considerably, based on latest cosmological research. After I read it, I'll let you know.

The Rare Earth argument has clear anthropic and God implications. I will be interested to see if the authors make those connections or not.

--wiz

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Old 03-07-2000, 02:32 PM   #62
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I think I will go to Amazon then. Although living in Canada has me wary of ordering things off the internet (it gets expensive).

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Old 03-21-2000, 05:18 AM   #63
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Whoa, been a while.

I got RARE EARTH (thanks, Conor, for bringing the book to my attention), and it is EXCELLENT. It is a very sober and careful analysis, and begins with a very thorough explanation of the evolution of the solar system and earth, the origin and evolution of life, and so forth. It deals extensively and intelligently with the Drake equation. Interestingly, given that it counters so much of Carl Sagan's worldview with regard to ET life, it is dedicated to Sagan's memory.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK. It's pricey, but worth it. It will give you an excellent education in the latest thinking about how the solar system and the earth were formed, and how life came to evolve upon the earth.

I'm only 80 or so pages into it, but it is absorbing reading.

--wiz

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Old 03-21-2000, 01:52 PM   #64
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I still plan on getting it. Eventually.

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Old 03-21-2000, 05:07 PM   #65
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One thing I was discussing with a friend of mine, was the whole "possible government cover-up thing."

I'm not a big conspiracy theory buff, but I admit, yes, it's possible there might be some vast conspiracy to hide UFO/alien info, for some reason we don't know yet (consult your X-Files/sci fi buff for possible plot scenarios).

The thing is, those government officials get our tax money, and they get our votes. They want to be popular to stay in office, and continue to get funds from rich groups (which they ultimately are more concerned with appeasing than Joe and Jane Blow at home).

The thing is, if they go along with the idea that aliens aren't real (of course they aren't real, no self-respecting person would believe there are little green men out there in tin-foil saucers than they would there's old green women flying on brooms or big scaly dragons in England!) then if they ever find out they ARE real, they'll probably have to lie or cover it up, for fear of looking stupid because they were wrong, or appear not to be in control (losing support, votes, and money). If they go along with the idea that they are real, they have no way to conveniently dismiss witnesses of spy probes and stuff like that (during the cold war, they could just call people who saw the Stealth bomber "wacko UFO watchers" or something). It kind of backfires because then people suspect the government of covering up alien life. I think though, that movies like the X-Files help the government more than they hurt it, because they say to us "it's just a movie" and the government can say "look you were just watching that MOVIE, that's not how it really is." And it also fires public imagination, so that they can justify space programs, etc.

Still, for those who want to believe in alien life (especially close to home) and I think there would be more of those sort of folks on a STAR WARS message board, I think NASA and the government would want to give you EVERY POSSIBLE INDICATION that there was alien life, to keep your hopes up. Why? So you'd encourage them to keep looking (support NASA). Why is this important? Then the government can justify spending tons of money on it, and stay in power, plus you get the whole "secret budget" thing. They can spend a ton of money, and we can "assume" that they are using it for some secret purpose, to save us from the ETI's. Or something like that.

Personally, I believe alien life exists somewhere in the universe, in addition to earth. The question is, are they really visiting us. Are the "UFO's" people claim to be seeing really visitors from outer space?

Then the question is, are they really trying to do something "regarding us" and is the government involved?

It's a stretch, but I think alot of speculation, alot of Cold War policy, and general (earned) mistrust of our authority figures leads to UFO paranoia, and it's not hard to see that now. Plus when you get all the New Age type of stuff going on.. people rejecting belief in traditional Monotheistic religion in favor of emphasis on Angelology, Crystalology, ESP, occult, tarot cards, etc. (no offense to you people, you're just practicing your religion). I just think those kinds of belief systems tend to be more attracted to the idea of alien life visiting us (and of course the Sci Fi fans love it too).

Let's just hope a big war doesn't break out with China and Taiwan. That might mean the end of civilization...

Kurgan

[This message has been edited by Darth Kurgan (edited March 23, 2000).]
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Old 03-21-2000, 06:22 PM   #66
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Don't forget India and Pakistan. Now that they're both openly nuclear, their aggresive flirtations now take on a whole new level of significance.


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Old 03-22-2000, 03:38 PM   #67
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China is a rabid dog, and it may be too powerful to be put down. I wouldn't be surprised if China made a power play very soon. It would take the Bomb to stop them.

I am just glad India and Pakistan don't have missiles that can reach very far beyond themselves. If they ever do get long-range weapons America is going to have to get off their ass and do something about it.

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Old 03-22-2000, 04:03 PM   #68
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Well, I don't think that India and Pakistan have any beef with the USA as things are currently. The worry is that the military leaders in Pakistan will lose control to the hardline fundamental muslims, who also happen to harbor a strong dislike for the USA. I needn't detail all the negative possibilities that would open up as I'm sure you're imagination is vivid enough.



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Old 03-22-2000, 09:16 PM   #69
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Perhaps it is time to bring back the Assasination game...

It is hard to fight a war against a few men.

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Old 03-23-2000, 04:11 AM   #70
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I am actually curious what anyone else thinks of that topic.

There is a very real threat from organized people who simply could not be countered except by using their own methods against them.

Yet...playing that card is almost impossible to condone. Is it right to kill someone before they can launch an attack (weaponry, terrorism, biological agents) against you?

I think the decision will come soon.

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Old 03-23-2000, 12:57 PM   #71
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I think China worries me alot more than India or Pakistan. Sure those two countries have nukes, but China is more openly hostile towards us, and they have a larger military.

But yeah, being the world's policeman is an impossible task, and we've got at least as many enemies as friends (if we have any friends, that is). "We" of course being the US of A.

I don't think those kind of "tactics" are exceptable morally. But then again, neither is war, or any military intervention that results in loss of life (you can't have a war without civilian casulaties and some attrocities).

If we ever had a so-called "just war" (not these bogus "humanitarian peace actions" which are just power-plays most of the time fought for economic reasons), then I would be behind it, although I'd rather things be solved peacefully than with bloodshed.

And don't get too caught up in all the "fundamenalist muslim" propaganda. Sure mags like Newsweek will tell you that Osmar bin "boogeyman" Ladin and all his "secret army" are going to kill all of us infidels while we sleep in our beds, but I think it isn't a religious thing. We've got enemies from all races, colors, creeds, and geographic locations. We might happen to be enemies with some muslim countries (probably because of our propping up of Israel), but there's no hard and fast rule. We have Islamic allies too.

Kurgan

[This message has been edited by Darth Kurgan (edited March 23, 2000).]
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Old 03-28-2000, 06:42 AM   #72
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Conor--

I read this comment of yours:

Quote:
Perhaps it is time to bring back the Assasination game...
Is it right to kill someone before they can launch an attack (weaponry, terrorism, biological agents) against you?
I think the decision will come soon.
And then I read your sig--

Quote:
"Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words."
-St. Francis of Assisi
Am I the only one who detects the slightest little disconnect there?

(I'm not disagreeing with you, btw--just grinning wryly at the juxtaposition of these sentiments. Somehow it's hard for me to picture St. Francis calling for a war of assassins...)

--wiz

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Old 03-28-2000, 01:58 PM   #73
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I thought of that when I posted, and wondered if anyone would respond.

I thought it was interesting how, ethically, the use of assasination could never really be defended, yet I don't know what we are going to do against terrorists except fight them at thier own game.

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