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One theory about why we don’t see extraterrestrials provides support for Earth as a privileged planet

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The Ocean Planets Hypothesis is that intelligent beings may flourish in the interior oceans of the moons of gas giant planets — or within exoplanets — but they are trapped there:

Williams concludes, “In the end, it could be that intelligent life is not rare at all, but that it’s simply unable to communicate with us.” Indeed, it’s not just us. They may not be able to know of or communicate with any other intelligent entity anywhere.

But then a curious consequence follows — the idea that Earth is unique returns with a vengeance. [Williams writes,]

“In terms of drawbacks, the Ocean Worlds hypothesis raises the all-important Copernican Principle (aka. Cosmological Principle). If most life in the Universe is to be found inside icy planets and moons, then planet Earth, terrestrial life, and humanity are atypical and are in a unique and advantageous position to observe the cosmos – which is consistent with the Anthropic Principle.

“What’s more, it implies an imperative or even a duty for humanity to seek out life if it wants to make contact. Otherwise, the Fermi Paradox will endure because other life forms are unable to contact us. But if in so doing, we run the risk of contaminating and destroying any life we find, are we not better off letting it endure? All good questions, and one which help to frame the ethical questions that searching for extraterrestrial life raises.” – Matt Williams, “Beyond “Fermi’s Paradox” XIII: What Is the “Ocean Worlds” Hypothesis?” at Universe Today

News, “Is intelligent life in the universe living in interior oceans of planets and moons?” at Mind Matters News

If intelligent life forms are trapped in the interior oceans of rocky moons and planets, Earth is a special planet—much better suited to space exploration.

We should give Matt Williams a copy of Privileged Planet:

6 Replies to “One theory about why we don’t see extraterrestrials provides support for Earth as a privileged planet

  1. 1
    Fasteddious says:

    This is somewhat silly. Surely any intelligent beings capable of high-level communication with each other would have enough curiosity to wonder what is “out there” beyond their physical boundaries. Sooner or later they would try to find out by digging, or sending probes, sonar or radar investigations, or what have you. Over the subsequent eons some of them might break through to discover the surface and a whole universe, unknown to them, which would really get their hearts pumping, I imagine (if they have hearts, that is).
    For example, aside from the temperature, one can imagine a race of intelligent beings on Venus, who do not know about the cosmos due to the ever-present clouds. But they would discern day and night and wonder why, or they just might develop balloons and go higher and higher until they see the sun more clearly. Then surely their curiosity would be piqued and they would begin serious investigations, eventually discovering the cosmos.
    What I mean is that curiosity must surely be a key attribute of any intelligent race, and prolonged curiosity leads to ongoing discovery.

  2. 2
    EDTA says:

    If their world is all ocean, then all it will take is for someone under their planet to invent styrofoam…

    On a more serious note,
    >”But if in so doing, we run the risk of contaminating and destroying any life we find, are we not better off letting it endure?”

    I know that’s the standard cosmological morality these days, but why would that be wrong? From whose perspective? (“Oh, there he goes, opening up the subject of relativism again…sigh…”)

  3. 3
    doubter says:

    One leading theory (really a conjecture) about the development of high intelligence in humans is that it was fueled by tool and fire using. These activities (requiring intelligence) put a high survival value on abstract, logical thinking, and therefore on the development of the necessary brain structures. Of course this theory is always accompanied by the Darwinist assumptions, but there still is probably something to it.

    If this theory is correct then it is unlikely that water worlds will spawn highly intelligent beings, because most any technology other than simple stone tools requires use of fire. Obviously, there is no fire in the water environment. Such beings would seemingly never develop past something equivalent to the Old Stone Age. Certainly not anywhere close to high technology like radio.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Doubter states “These activities (requiring intelligence) put a high survival value on abstract, logical thinking, and therefore on the development of the necessary brain structures.”

    So does having a ‘high survival value’ for abstract, logical thinking mean that the ‘necessary brain structures’ will automatically poof into existence in the Darwinian scheme of things?

    Darwinian processes can’t even possibly explain a single neuron, far less can unguided Darwinian processes ever hope to explain the ‘beyond belief’ human brain.

    “Complexity Brake” Defies Evolution – August 8, 2012
    Excerpt: Consider a neuronal synapse — the presynaptic terminal has an estimated 1000 distinct proteins. Fully analyzing their possible interactions would take about 2000 years. Or consider the task of fully characterizing the visual cortex of the mouse — about 2 million neurons. Under the extreme assumption that the neurons in these systems can all interact with each other, analyzing the various combinations will take about 10 million years…, even though it is assumed that the underlying technology speeds up by an order of magnitude each year.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62961.html

    “The brain is not a supercomputer in which the neurons are transistors; rather it is as if each individual neuron is itself a computer, and the brain a vast community of microscopic computers. But even this model is probably too simplistic since the neuron processes data flexibly and on disparate levels, and is therefore far superior to any digital system. If I am right, the human brain may be a trillion times more capable than we imagine, and “artificial intelligence” a grandiose misnomer.”
    Brian Ford research biologist – 2009 – The Secret Power of a Single Cell

    The Human Brain Is ‘Beyond Belief’ by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. * – 2017
    Excerpt: The human brain,, is an engineering marvel that evokes comments from researchers like “beyond anything they’d imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief”1 and “a world we had never imagined.”2,,,
    Perfect Optimization
    The scientists found that at multiple hierarchical levels in the whole brain, nerve cell clusters (ganglion), and even at the individual cell level, the positioning of neural units achieved a goal that human engineers strive for but find difficult to achieve—the perfect minimizing of connection costs among all the system’s components.,,,
    Vast Computational Power
    Researchers discovered that a single synapse is like a computer’s microprocessor containing both memory-storage and information-processing features.,,, Just one synapse alone can contain about 1,000 molecular-scale microprocessor units acting in a quantum computing environment. An average healthy human brain contains some 200 billion nerve cells connected to one another through hundreds of trillions of synapses. To put this in perspective, one of the researchers revealed that the study’s results showed a single human brain has more information processing units than all the computers, routers, and Internet connections on Earth.1,,,
    Phenomenal Processing Speed
    the processing speed of the brain had been greatly underrated. In a new research study, scientists found the brain is 10 times more active than previously believed.6,7,,,
    The large number of dendritic spikes also means the brain has more than 100 times the computational capabilities than was previously believed.,,,
    Petabyte-Level Memory Capacity
    Our new measurements of the brain’s memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10 to at least a petabyte, in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web.9,,,
    Optimal Energy Efficiency
    Stanford scientist who is helping develop computer brains for robots calculated that a computer processor functioning with the computational capacity of the human brain would require at least 10 megawatts to operate properly. This is comparable to the output of a small hydroelectric power plant. As amazing as it may seem, the human brain requires only about 10 watts to function.11 ,,,
    Multidimensional Processing
    It is as if the brain reacts to a stimulus by building then razing a tower of multi-dimensional blocks, starting with rods (1D), then planks (2D), then cubes (3D), and then more complex geometries with 4D, 5D, etc. The progression of activity through the brain resembles a multi-dimensional sandcastle that materializes out of the sand and then disintegrates.13
    He also said:
    We found a world that we had never imagined. There are tens of millions of these objects even in a small speck of the brain, up through seven dimensions. In some networks, we even found structures with up to eleven dimensions.13,,,
    Biophoton Brain Communication
    Neurons contain many light-sensitive molecules such as porphyrin rings, flavinic, pyridinic rings, lipid chromophores, and aromatic amino acids. Even the mitochondria machines that produce energy inside cells contain several different light-responsive molecules called chromophores. This research suggests that light channeled by filamentous cellular structures called microtubules plays an important role in helping to coordinate activities in different regions of the brain.,,,
    https://www.icr.org/article/10186

  5. 5
    ET says:

    We have seen extraterrestrials. You can ignore all of the evidence and data but that isn’t going to make it go away.

  6. 6
    doubter says:

    Bornagain77@4

    “So does having a ‘high survival value’ for abstract, logical thinking mean that the ‘necessary brain structures’ will automatically poof into existence in the Darwinian scheme of things?”

    Yes, in the false, imaginary Darwinian scheme.

    But in reality the fact remains that almost certainly an enlarged and elaborated cerebral cortex was required to support the enhanced abstract logical thinking required for technology to be developed. Therefore some intelligent design process must have operated to make the countless intricate design changes to the brain that were required.

    The point is, this brain evolution had to happen somehow in order for humans to evolve and develop fire-using technology, and it certainly looks as if it happened in response to circumstances, needs and opportunities on the part of the primitive pre-humans.

    And this wouldn’t, couldn’t have happened in a water environment where fire was impossible and high technology was impossible.

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