Stewart on the Founders’ Cosmic Beliefs

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Jon Rowe

Jon Rowe is a full Professor of Business at Mercer County Community College, where he teaches business, law, and legal issues relating to politics. Of course, his views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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7 Responses

  1. Avatar Damon says:

    Assuming aliens exist and have visited our planet, there are other reasons why they might have chosen not to share their technology.

    1) we’re potential rivals if we had better technology.
    2) we’re not considered “intelligent” but just stupid animals and they don’t acknowledge our sentience.
    3) we’re a planned food crop.
    4) they don’t give a damn about us. Maybe they are more interested in our water, the whales, the giant squid, or some other animal/plantReport

  2. Avatar zic says:

    When I first read this, I read “Mathew Stuart” as “Martha Stewart,” and really thought we’d had an alien invasion. Whoa.

    I suspect life springs from chemical reaction where conditions meet this certain set of criteria which we might only guess at since it’s spring and reworked so much in its wake here on Earth. I doubt, however, that it’s up to traversing the vastness of space, at least not without a ship large enough to bring along a substantial chunk of the flora and fauna that make life, and I’d expect it to rapidly vary from the life left behind in ways that might be quite nasty were the two biospheres to re-encounter one another. So despite my many, many years of consuming space operas and post-apocalyptic sci-fi, it’s only a dream of the frontier beyond our grasping. I do realize that it’s possible that the limits I see are the limits of what we know now, and we might know more some time in the future. But we still don’t seem to get that we live in a biosphere, and none of us are really individuals, we’re all colonies.

    As to cosmology of other biospheres? I would presume sentience a prerequisite. But then I wonder of the gods of the great ape, the sperm whale, or elephant. Perhaps the noise pollution we pour into the oceans are whale’s fall from the garden?

    I like the notion of the perpetual life/death cycle of Jesus as refutation of the one Christian God. But I grow completely disgusted with the never ending assertions of Christ as the truth, too; truth beyond questioning is very convenient. Particularly if you’re not a whale or ape or elephant, facing armageddon of your species.Report

  3. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    See, now, my favorite from the MCU is this

    Jane Foster: Is that a quantum field generator?
    Nurse: (dismissively) It is a Soul Forge.
    Jane Foster: Well, does a soul forge transfer molecular energy from one object to another?
    Nurse: (pauses, then stiffly) Yes.
    Jane Foster (triumphantly): Hmmm! Quantum field generator!

    Report

  4. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    I tend to believe the following regarding extraterrestrial life:

    1. Life is common throughout the universe. Copernican principle.

    2. Assuming the history of life on earth is reasonably typical, most extraterrestrial life will be pretty boring, unicellular stuff. That’s what life looked like here for the first 3 billion years or so.

    3. While complex, multicellular life, much less intelligent lifeforms like us, may be uncommon, even rare, there’s a lot of planets out there. Potential for life, just in our own galaxy likely number in the billions. Even one-in-a-million odds gives you potentially thousands of neighbors.

    4. Even so, the galaxy is an awfully big place. Our nearest neighbors could easily be hundreds or thousands of light-years distant.

    5. Interstellar travel is possible. It’s also really hard and it takes a long time.

    6. Given #5 the economics of interstellar commerce or resource exploitation are impossible.

    7. The politics are almost as bad. Assuming ET’s have lifespans even roughly comparable to our own, funding an incredibly difficult, risky, and expensive expedition the outcome of which won’t be known for many generations hence is a hell of a political proposition.

    8. Of course, as @zic points out above, all this is based on very limited information as well as a lot of assumptions that may or may not prove to be valid. But as much as I would like to believe otherwise, there’s no evidence or logic pointing to a Star Trek future as a reasonable possibility.

    9. On the other hand, in true Rumsfeldian fashion, we have to admit to the existence of “known unknowns.” The twin pillars of modern physics, quantum mechanics and relativity, while being fantastically fruitful and well-verified, are also fundamentally at odds with one another. It should be noted as well that we don’t even know what 96% of the universe is made of, beyond attaching the labels Dark Energy and Dark Matter to it, which really means “I dunno.” Bottom line is that our understanding of physics is incomplete, and the gaps, being centered around really fundamental stuff like space, time, energy, and matter, is precisely where technologies like faster than light travel would exist if the universe allows it.Report