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Posted: 24 November 2012 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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First, I believe the current thinking among cosmologists is that the universe has existed in its present form for between 13 and 14 billion years.

Second, “forever” is another way of talking about an infinite time period, and that’s silly. 

Third, just because there differences in energy levels, that’s not a motivation for atoms reacting.  Different atoms have tend to be more or less likely to react.  Similarly, different molecules have different levels of stability.  In addition, some tend to form simple compounds while some can form complex ones.  Those which have a valence of one, that is, they have one point of combination such as sodium and chlorine will be stable after they react to form sodium chloride.  On the other end of the valence spectrum is, say, carbon, which has four points of combination and can combine with itself to form a wide variety of structures. 

The difficulty with the “organism living ‘for an exceedingly long time’” is that there are so many actions taking place constantly, heat, cosmic rays, contact with other compounds, natural molecular instability, organisms absorbing each other, etc. that it’s very doubtful any particular organism will survive for very long unless it’s regenerating itself.  For example, when an amoeba absorbs available compounds then splits into two amoeba, we can’t really say that the original one survived.

Occam

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Posted: 24 November 2012 12:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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Occam. - 24 November 2012 11:34 AM

... “forever” is another way of talking about an infinite time period, and that’s silly… 

Occam

I’ll see your infinite time period, and raise you two forevers… Oh wait, that’s silly… I’ll see your assertion and raise you one silly reply.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 26 November 2012 04:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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mid atlantic - 23 November 2012 04:34 PM
dansmith62 - 23 November 2012 04:34 AM

Organisms cannot last forever? Why? As long as there’s free energy available in our universe an organism can survive. No natural law makes a 100-billion-year-old organism impossible. Yet, death and cancer is part of our rich biosphere on Earth. This debate isn’t about emotionally satisfying answers.

Well, I think the universe is less than 100 billion years old.

At this point, research shows that the stuff of life (as we know it), has inherently limiting properties - although there are organisms with very long lifespans.

Obviously, the only life we know of is here, so we don’t have anything else to measure it against.

I was talking about the distant future and some potential primitive life form still drawing energy from a red dwarf. But shorter lifespans and death might offer more successful strategies for the development of complex life.

[ Edited: 26 November 2012 05:33 AM by dansmith62 ]
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Posted: 26 November 2012 04:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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Occam. - 24 November 2012 11:34 AM

First, I believe the current thinking among cosmologists is that the universe has existed in its present form for between 13 and 14 billion years.

Second, “forever” is another way of talking about an infinite time period, and that’s silly. 

Third, just because there differences in energy levels, that’s not a motivation for atoms reacting.  Different atoms have tend to be more or less likely to react.  Similarly, different molecules have different levels of stability.  In addition, some tend to form simple compounds while some can form complex ones.  Those which have a valence of one, that is, they have one point of combination such as sodium and chlorine will be stable after they react to form sodium chloride.  On the other end of the valence spectrum is, say, carbon, which has four points of combination and can combine with itself to form a wide variety of structures. 

The difficulty with the “organism living ‘for an exceedingly long time’” is that there are so many actions taking place constantly, heat, cosmic rays, contact with other compounds, natural molecular instability, organisms absorbing each other, etc. that it’s very doubtful any particular organism will survive for very long unless it’s regenerating itself.  For example, when an amoeba absorbs available compounds then splits into two amoeba, we can’t really say that the original one survived.

Occam

I wrote “no natural law makes a 100-billion-year-old organism impossible” and from this everyone seems to conclude I am too ignorant to know the age of our universe. My belief in God must have messed with my capability to memorize fundamental findings of modern cosmology… Yeah, that must be it ;-) So how can scientists talk about black dwarfs when the universe is only 13.7 billion years old?

I agree that it’s doubtful or unlikely that some living organism can survive billion of years. Yet the microorganisms on some planet in a distant galaxy might be different from bacteria or amoeba that we know of. I just said, that the natural laws as such do not preclude the possibility. So it’s really about the advantages of having diseases and death in an overall evolutionary process. Maybe homo erectus didn’t survive because there were fewer diseases to deal with for him compared to homo sapiens.

[ Edited: 26 November 2012 05:36 AM by dansmith62 ]
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