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Benny
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Stephen Hawking's quotes  
« on: May 26th, 2010, 10:59am »
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Stephen Hawking stated that he too believes aliens exist:  
 
"To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational."
 
perfectly rational? Really, why?
 
I'm not comfortable when he said "I believe aliens exist" ... I would have liked him to say, "I believe that it's possible they do exist."
 
Your thoughts, please.
« Last Edit: Sep 13th, 2010, 12:39pm by Benny » IP Logged

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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #1 on: May 26th, 2010, 11:12am »
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If your knowledge of the universe leads you to believe it is very probable that aliens exist it is warranted to believe they exist.
There is nothing in particular that makes our solar system or planet special. So, yeah, given the numbers -- the number of stars in a galaxy, the number of galaxies in the universe, the age of the universe -- it is rational to believe in alien life. And given the physics of the universe, as we know it, it's very much improbable we will meet it. (Unless it's somewhere in our immediate neighbourhood.)
 
 
Should I believe you're an actual human being? Or do you think I should only believe it is possible you're a human being?  
After all, I've never actual met you; and even if I did, I probably wouldn't have subjected you to the necessary medical test to determine whether you qualify as human, rather than some simulant.
« Last Edit: May 26th, 2010, 11:24am by towr » IP Logged

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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #2 on: May 26th, 2010, 11:25am »
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I pretty much agree with everything towr said.
 
Besides, Stephen Hawking was sharing his opinion, so he is completely justified in saying "I believe aliens exist."
 
I would go a little farther than Stephen Hawking (who was likely watching his words carefully for the media) did and say that it seems absolutely ridiculous that life in some form would not exist somewhere else.  The universe is really, really freaking big.  And then some.
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #3 on: May 26th, 2010, 1:10pm »
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on May 26th, 2010, 10:59am, BenVitale wrote:

I'm not comfortable when he said "I believe aliens exist" ... I would have liked him to say, "I believe that it's possible they do exist."
 
Your thoughts, please.

Although unfortunately unable to do so, he has as much right to stick his neck out as anybody else.  
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #4 on: May 26th, 2010, 5:48pm »
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...ever the one with *perfect* comment...
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #5 on: May 26th, 2010, 6:34pm »
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on May 26th, 2010, 5:48pm, Noke Lieu wrote:
...ever the one with *perfect* comment...

Nah, a perfect comment would go on to explain that we are already here.  Tongue
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #6 on: May 26th, 2010, 8:10pm »
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What, the perfect comment would be to mention that the perfect comments are already here?
 
hidden:
I was actually referring to your quip about necks
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #7 on: May 26th, 2010, 10:50pm »
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on May 26th, 2010, 8:10pm, Noke Lieu wrote:
What, the perfect comment would be to mention that the perfect comments are already here?
 
hidden:
I was actually referring to your quip about necks

Well, I thought it was obvious I was referring to people who stick their necks out.  Tongue
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #8 on: May 30th, 2010, 11:13am »
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I believe Hawking made that statement based on the anthropic principle; it would be too self assuming of the human race that God created this huge humongous universe just for the sake of us humans.  
 
Although, how did we get from aliens to necks ?  Roll Eyes
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #9 on: May 30th, 2010, 12:58pm »
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on May 30th, 2010, 11:13am, JiNbOtAk wrote:
... it would be too self assuming of the human race that God created this huge humongous universe just for the sake of us humans.  

You mean we wouldn't have the brass neck? LOL But some of us (who, claiming to have a hotline to God, really ought to have known better) had the brass neck to believe that our er... neck of the woods was actually the centre of it - and, imitating their wrathful, vengeful God, tortured and burned any poor soul that disagreed.
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #10 on: Jun 3rd, 2010, 1:29pm »
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"To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational."
 
Stephen Hawking is using a probabilistic argument for aliens' existence. Not an absolute proof.
 
Certainly, there's room for debate in probabilistic arguments.
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #11 on: Jun 3rd, 2010, 1:37pm »
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on May 26th, 2010, 10:59am, BenVitale wrote:

I'm not comfortable when he said "I believe aliens exist" ... I would have liked him to say, "I believe that it's possible they do exist."
 
Your thoughts, please.

Given that it is impossible to prove aliens don't exist, isn't your preference rather tautological?
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #12 on: Jun 3rd, 2010, 9:56pm »
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I never understood the line of reasoning that life is highly likely to exist elsewhere because there are an extremely large number of opportunities for it. It doesn't make much sense to me because it depends on how large that number is compared to the probability of the events required for life to form. Just because it happened once does not give a measure of that probability, because it is a given that we are here.
 
Biologist are sure to have studied that probability, and I suspect there is a very large range of what various scientist think that number is.
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #13 on: Jun 3rd, 2010, 10:15pm »
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on Jun 3rd, 2010, 9:56pm, SWF wrote:

Biologist are sure to have studied that probability, and I suspect there is a very large range of what various scientist think that number is.

xkcd
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #14 on: Jun 4th, 2010, 12:37am »
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They haven't found anything in particular that would make life an unlikely occurrence. It sprung up on earth almost as soon as the conditions allowed. Then there's the assumption that on a large scale any part of the universe is as good as any other part, so you wouldn't expect any one spot to be unique.  
There's also, if memory serves me, results from complexity theory that show that in a network of a sufficiently large number of interdependent processes the probability goes to one that you get a sub-network that copies itself (basically, life). Or something like that; it's been a while since I read "What does a martian look like?" (Ian Stewart's and Jack Cohen's book on, among other things, this subject).
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #15 on: Sep 13th, 2010, 12:33pm »
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Youtube: Hawking rules out God
 

According to the physicist, God did not create the universe and the “Big Bang” was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics.
 
In “The Grand Design,” co-authored with U.S. physicist Leonard Miodinow, Hawking says a new series of theories made a creator of the universe redundant, according to the Times newspaper which published extracts on Thursday.
 
“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” Hawking writes.

 
Source
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #16 on: Sep 14th, 2010, 9:54am »
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on Sep 13th, 2010, 12:33pm, BenVitale wrote:
Youtube: Hawking rules out God
 

According to the physicist, God did not create the universe and the “Big Bang” was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics.
 
In “The Grand Design,” co-authored with U.S. physicist Leonard Miodinow, Hawking says a new series of theories made a creator of the universe redundant, according to the Times newspaper which published extracts on Thursday.
 
“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” Hawking writes.

 
Source

 
Of course, what then lacks explanation is where the laws come from, or, alternatively, what enforces them...
 
It's like saying that there is no need to invoke William F. Lamb to explain the existence of the Empire State Building because the blueprints meant it could and would be built...
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« Reply #17 on: Sep 14th, 2010, 11:21am »
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on Sep 14th, 2010, 9:54am, rmsgrey wrote:

Of course, what then lacks explanation is where the laws come from, or, alternatively, what enforces them...
 
It's like saying that there is no need to invoke William F. Lamb to explain the existence of the Empire State Building because the blueprints meant it could and would be built...

Yeah, I gathered the same idea from this blog that I follow -
http://physics.about.com/b/2010/09/12/hawkinggod.htm
 
Something tells me that Hawking was most likely quoted out of context by the media (as usual). Though, to confirm that, I would have to purchase his book and read it myself. This is either a pretty darn good publicity stunt or random co-incidence in favor of Hawking and the numbers alone make thinking about the former perfectly rational.
 
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #18 on: Sep 14th, 2010, 11:24am »
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on Sep 14th, 2010, 9:54am, rmsgrey wrote:

 
Of course, what then lacks explanation is where the laws come from, or, alternatively, what enforces them...
 
It's like saying that there is no need to invoke William F. Lamb to explain the existence of the Empire State Building because the blueprints meant it could and would be built...

 
Hawking is saying that we exist because the laws of the universe appear to have a design that is tailor-made to support us .... and cannot be changed to support us.
 
And why is that way?
 
According to Hawking, it is that way because of M-theory ... it is mysterious to me, I don't understand it.
 
Other people would say that God is behind all that.
 
I haven't studied enough physics to understand what Hawking is talking about.
 
Hawking talks about "Spontaneous creation" ... we have seen this movie before, and it didn't go well.
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #19 on: Sep 14th, 2010, 11:38am »
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on Sep 14th, 2010, 11:24am, BenVitale wrote:
Hawking is saying that we exist because the laws of the universe appear to have a design that is tailor-made to support us .... and cannot be changed to support us.
That's sounds more like the opposite of what he'd say.
"Tailor-made" suggests a creator; whereas the correct view is that to exist we must have developed/evolved as beings that can exist in the universe we find ourselves in. Any universe that contains life, contains life that can live in that universe, it doesn't require the universe to be tailored to that life. And if a universe doesn't contain life, there wouldn't be anyone to notice it.
 
Quote:
Hawking talks about "Spontaneous creation" ... we have seen this movie before, and it didn't go well.
Huh
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Re: Quotes  
« Reply #20 on: Sep 15th, 2010, 10:00am »
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on Sep 14th, 2010, 11:38am, towr wrote:
Any universe that contains life, contains life that can live in that universe, it doesn't require the universe to be tailored to that life. And if a universe doesn't contain life, there wouldn't be anyone to notice it.

 
The big problem there is that the range of possible laws/universes seems to include vast numbers that preclude the possibility of anything complex enough to be recognised as life, and only a minute number that could support even our most generalised concepts of life - so either our universe is finely tuned by some agency (God, or some unknown physical principle) or it's the result of some ridiculous chance, or there's ridiculous numbers of other universes "out there" that may or may not ever be detectable...
 
There's a general lack of consensus on how best to resolve the problem (or even if it is a real problem at all - maybe life-as-we-don't-know-it is more versatile than we think...)
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Re: Stephen Hawking's quotes  
« Reply #21 on: Sep 15th, 2010, 1:26pm »
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Things with ridiculously low chances do happen. The only reason they wouldn't is if they were impossible. It's not necessary for there to be an unimaginable number of more probable events (possibly in alternate universes) to compensate. Our observational base is by necessity biased, so there isn't really a good way to tell one way or the other.
 
Also, as far as I understand it, the "finely tuned" story is rather overrated. Nor are they entirely sure the fundamental constants are in fact constant over time and space in our universe (which we can only see some 14 billion light years of anyway). See e.g. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19429-laws-of-physics-may-change-a cross-the-universe.html
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Re: Stephen Hawking's quotes  
« Reply #22 on: Sep 18th, 2010, 7:40pm »
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Did Hawking really said the laws of the universe proves that there is no God ? Funny, I remembered reading him writing it a bit differently, .."the laws of universe does not preclude a Creator, but it does put a limit on how and when he creates the universe." or something like that. I could't remember the exact phrase, I have to look it up.
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Re: Stephen Hawking's quotes  
« Reply #23 on: Sep 19th, 2010, 6:31am »
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Yeah, that sounds more like what he'd say.
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Re: Stephen Hawking's quotes  
« Reply #24 on: Sep 19th, 2010, 5:03pm »
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He and Mr. Mlodinow don't claim to have proved that God doesn't exist; their argument is somewhat more confined, but still important in its implications.
 
http://physicsandphysicists.blogspot.com/2010/09/grand-design-book-revie w.html
 
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