Re: Microbe Fossils-Mars

Anders Sandberg (
Fri, 22 Aug 1997 23:32:04 +0200 (MET DST)

On Fri, 22 Aug 1997, Rick Knight wrote:

> Does the notion of life, ANY life, however microscopic,
> really impact our place in the universe much. Seems to me like even
> the religious zealots would be shrugging their shoulders.

I think Robin Hanson answered it quite well with his "Great Filter"
essay: if it turns out that there is life (even very simple)
elsewhere, it tells us something important about how the universe
looks in general. If life is hardy and can easily evolve, it ought to
be everywhere. If so, why the Fermi paradox? Is there something
*dangerous* out there?.


And I wouldn't underestimate the impact of knowing there is life
elsewhere. The zealots shrugged their shoulders when Newton suggested
his mechanics, but it undermined their views by showing a clockwork
universe that didn't need divine intervention. If we live on a fairly
normal planet in an universe filled with life or if we are utterly
alone in a vast emptiness, doesn't that change the *feel* of things?

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y