November 22nd, 2011
08:58 AM ET

Behind the scenes of the 'search for life'

John Zarrella’s series "Search for Life" premieres this week on CNN.

The Kepler telescope finds a planet circling two suns, right out of "Star Wars." Data from the Galileo mission suggest that a body of liquid water the size of the Great Lakes is on Jupiter’s moon Europa. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter finds sand dunes rippling across the planet’s surface.

Every day, NASA pours out press releases with fascinating, sometimes groundbreaking revelations. The problem is, much of it flies under the radar, getting absorbed, minimalized and shoved aside in the noise of events around the world. Unless you are addicted to Light Years (and I hope you are), you could easily miss this wonderful dessert NASA keeps serving up, a heavenly hash of sorts.

As I watched all of this "stuff" pouring into my e-mail, it seemed to me that there was a series of stories that needed telling. The common thread is just how wondrous the universe is and how, when you consider all that’s out there, it’s hard for me to imagine we’re all alone.

It just so happened there was a very nice peg for a series: This week, NASA is planning to launch the most sophisticated rover it has ever sent to Mars. The rover named Curiosity is capable of detecting organic material required for life as we know it. For the first time, NASA is going to Mars with its primary focus on finding evidence of life.

“This mission is a key step in answering the eventual question whether life ever existed on Mars," NASA Deputy Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada said.

Vasavada says that finding organic material is a long shot, but Curiosity is going to the place scientists believe gives them the best chance to find it. It’s called Gale Crater. Scientists think that if water ever flowed on Mars, it might have pooled up in this crater. And where there’s water, there could be life.

Given that NASA is about to embark on this incredible high-risk, high-reward mission, I thought it would be just plain fun to take a look at how the “search for life” is going.

We decided to look at all the planets being discovered by the Kepler telescope team. And then there’s the Webb telescope, with its promise and its problems. It’s years delayed and billions of dollars over budget but could revolutionize our understanding of the universe. And then we thought, you know what, we’re doing all these great things to find life; what about protecting the life we have here from asteroids?

As we talked with the scientists, it became increasingly clear that most of them are convinced there’s other life out there. Seth Shostak, an astronomer with the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, says it’s turning out that planets are “like kittens”: You don’t just get one in the litter.

“So the bottom line is, there are about 100 thousand billion billion planets just in the part of the universe we can see. That’s a very large number. Kind of hard to imagine that they’re all sterile, too,” Shostak said.

The Kepler folks are a bit more guarded, saying they have their opinions, but their focus is on finding planets of similar size to Earth. Not just close in size but also just the right distance from their sun to perhaps support life. Scientists refer to this as the “Goldilocks zone.”

“Kepler is just the first step,” Principal Investigator Bill Borucki said. “It says, 'here are Earth-sized planets. Here’s how many there are. And here are which number of them are in the habitable zone.' ”

The Kepler science team is making new discoveries of planet candidates, it seems, every day. They call them candidates until they are verified. They've found more than 1,200, including about 50 in that habitable zone.

“From our consoles, from our computers, we are exploring the universe. We are literally finding new worlds just like the European navigators did when they crossed the Atlantic 500 years ago,” Project Scientist Natalie Batalha said.

Even the planets they’re finding not like other Earths are bizarre. There’s one at least twice the size of Jupiter and another with the density of Styrofoam. “No one,” Borucki said, “expected that.”

The bottom line is, as astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell told me, “We’re just going through this amazing period where all the different new tools we’re bringing to bear both with ground-based telescopes and space telescopes just give us these gobsmacking revelations about what’s going on.”

So what it comes down to is this: While there may be other life out there, the reality is that the universe is such a big place, we’re not going for a visit to our celestial neighbors anytime soon. Consider it this way: Kepler is finding planets in our Milky Way galaxy, our own backyard. But they are still so far away, it could be 50 or perhaps 100 years before we have telescopes capable enough to actually see exactly what they look like.

As for life out there, even if we never find it, the universe is so big, could we ever really say we know we’re alone?

Post by:
Filed under: Discoveries
soundoff (485 Responses)
  1. gamekeys

    I was suggested this web site through my cousin. I'm not sure whether this put up is written by him as nobody else understand such specified approximately my difficulty. You're amazing! Thanks!

    April 2, 2012 at 6:39 am |
  2. youremorons

    Thank God that life may not have found us by now. Because if they saw us as i'm seeing you on these comment boards we sound like a bunch of idiot cattle just waiting to be harvested for whatever. grow up people. this is about life on other planets. not about taxes. not about abortions, not about obama, not about God, but just the simple curiosity to know what else is out there in our galactic neighborhood. I can think of worse ways of spending time and money. like trolling on CNN comment boards. so if that means trying to discover our universe and it's secrets. i'm all for it

    December 5, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  3. Phil

    Just cancel everything and give the money to the poor, who cares about life out there. If they show up i hope they are not idiots like us.

    November 26, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • barry

      Phil, are you curious about anything? what do you say to a child who askes you why the the sky is blue ? or what makes the wind blow ? I bet you cant answer these two simple questions, you are the average american person and as bill maher says stupid. The republicans are the ones who like cutting space exploration and if it was all stopped and the money became available for some other cause do you think they would allow it to be spent on the poor ? It would likely go the their campain funding.

      November 29, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • youremorons

      why cancel it? Scared to find out that you aren't the greatest thing in the universe? The poor can earn money by getting a job. or perhaps cutting government spending on less relevant things ie.. over the top campaigning. this is important. don't you think it's necessary to understand the things around us? we did that with earth and explored. why should it be any different in space?

      December 5, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
  4. unafy

    the next launch should be Human mission to Mars!

    November 25, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • barry

      Ya unafy I wish ! The biggest problem with going to mars at this time is the COST of it. The republicans are trying to put an end to the james webb telescope when its half finished because it went over budget.

      Give me a break these people are building a thing that has not ever been built before so I can see it being hard to stay on a first estimation of the cost.

      The people who allow NASA funding look at the james webb and the cost of a mission to mars and they want all space exploration funding put to an end. If only I had the money I would pay for it myself, but hey then I would likely want to go along.

      November 25, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  5. Clarence

    It will take us 26,000,000 light years to get there. The gas tank has to be as large as the moon. When you reach your destination it will be cold because the star will be all burnt up. Only Jesus or should I say the spirit (Aliens) undestand how to travel at God Speed.

    November 23, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Nick

      First of all, light years are a unit of distance, not time.
      Secondly no fuel is required to travel through space at a constant speed, fuel is only needed to accelerate or navigate.
      And considering time dilation you could travel through the entire known universe in a lifetime.
      You are right though that once we arrived at such a distant destination a lot of time will have passed since we observed it.

      November 24, 2011 at 1:56 am |
    • barry

      So clarence only jesus or the spirit of aliens know how to travel at ( god speed ) ? Hmmm how fast is god speed ? and where did you get this information ? Have you been speaking with god again ?

      There are red dwarf stars that can last a trillion years and stars like ours that last 10 or 15 billion years so if you can travel at (god speed) or even at 99.9999 percent light speed it is likely the star of your destination would still be there upon your arival.

      November 24, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  6. douglasjames

    Wow! People on earth do not have much respect for life from the one cell to the fetus. What is the point of searching out something that is not really respected where human kind lives?

    November 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Clarence

      You are right. What is up with the 12 sections with 1,200 seats in Revolations. When is that G ship going to get me the off this planet of freaks. The Ark(s) have 12×1,200=144,000 seats. I need someone to sell me a ticket to heaven.

      November 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  7. dougaussie

    what a waste of taxpayers money. Suppose you FOUND life on one of those planets. What you are looking at is millions of years old, their civilisation could be long dead. Are you going to send them a MESSAGE, give me a break. Are we going to GO THERE? Unless science can find a mode of transport that travels FASTER THAN LIGHTSPEED, there is no point even looking except a NON-religious one so atheists scientist can say 'told ya, told ya there was life out there, yah yah i'm smart and all you religious people are dumb." Or EVEN IF we could communicate with ALIENS what sort of message would we send them: "please come to our earth, we want to mate with you and steal your tech, don't come if you have acid blood and priahna like heads."

    November 23, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Brandon

      You are so sad. You have no curiosity. Finding life on other planets would be a huge discovery. The money we spend on science – which, just so you know, science is the pursuit of knowledge, not just to acquire more technology – pales in comparison to all the garbage we spend money on. If you really think humans trying to figure out their place in the universe is a waste, I'd consider you take a hard look at what is important. Anyways, even if we took all the money we spend on scientific research and tried to apply to to solve other problems, it wouldn't help. You can't solve the world's problems just by throwing more money at them. It takes an efficient use of resources.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • john80

      It's a very small percentage of our tax dollars. A lot of new technology here on Earth has come from our space endeavors.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
      • fred miller

        Like TANG right??

        November 26, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • barry

      I would give anything to see SETI recieve a signal from another race, I would give anything to know if the human race ever gets out of our solar system. There are so many mysteries in our universe that I would give anything to know, some people just have no curiosity, or they are stuck on some crazy religious belief. If all people were like you we would likely still be living like chimps. One just cannot put a price on bettering ourselves through knowledge.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • imagine possibilities

      hmm.
      I guess you are really not on top of innovation and the fact that there is limited supply of essential materials on earth. Just viewing the space/planets thru the spectrum light imagines the identification of planet make up is shared.
      Wouldn't it be cool to reach out to those other sources.

      Not only that but the space program itself has provided new products that get introduced to consumers. Tax money...I have no issue paying for that- keeps us moving forward- vs stationary in our thoughts.

      Study and read about science....you may be more informed about what is possible and how innovation works.

      November 23, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • nicetroll

      This reply is to bary: You are incorrect. How dare you judge people that have religious beliefs? Some of the most respected authorities of the nation have religious beliefs! How can you say they have a low IQ just because they believe in a higher power? I think you need to quit judging others and take a look in the mirror. You must not have too high of a self esteem to sit there and judge others for their beliefs!

      November 24, 2011 at 12:06 am |
      • barry

        Nicetroll you are correct I should not judge others and I am sorry if my comments came accross as judging others. My grandmother was a very religious woman and I never put any judgment on her, I am not judging others I am just stating my opinion. I felt sorry for my grandmother she went her entire life totally ignorant of so many things, she fully believed there was a great flood and noah built a boat and saved life on earth. I do know there are some scientists who are religious, there is physicist who became a catholic priest. There are some religious people who are a hell of a lot smarter than I am but they are very few. Most scientists though are not religious and I have read studies that show most religious folk tend to be more ignorant of anything science, I am sorry but again I hate religions and I can give you many examples of why.

        Truley what good does religion do our world ? You cant say things like thou shall not kill or treat others as you would have them treat you are religion for they are just common sense. The bible, the koran, the book of mormon, ect.. are just alot of nonsense mixed in with some just plain common sense. People take the nonsense parts and twist them into such things as letting their child die because they dont believe in blood transfusions (the jehovahs wittness) or jesus appeared in the 1800s in salt lake city area(mormons) hey I could go on all day here with stupid religious beliefs and any person with common sense knows there are to many stupid religious beliefs. I am again sorry if I came accross as judging others for I have been judged by others many times in my life, I have been a heroin addict for 20 years (clean for 2) so you can imagine the judgements I have been subjected to in my life, I also get judged often on my crappy grammer and spelling which i know is crap. Sorry people for spewing on here on the wrong subject, my apology.

        November 24, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
      • junius gallio

        > Truley what good does religion do our world ?

        It helps some people feel better about themselves, the world they live in, and the relationship between the two.

        If religion had no other positive effect, IMO this would be enough.

        November 24, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        @ Junius Galio,

        So a Halmark card would be just as effective, and even @ $4.95, a much better bargain.

        November 24, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
      • Juniis Gallio

        > So a Halmark card would be just as effective, and even @ $4.95, a much better bargain.

        Might be more effective for you. But it's strange ... many atheists and agnostics become very resentful when Christians (or other religionists) say "You should do things according to my way of thinking." Why, in light of that resentment, do you think it's alright to say that CChristians should do things according to _your_ way of thinking?

        Why do you do to Christians what you object to when done to you?

        November 24, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        @ Juniis Gallio
        I think you have it wrong, we (atheists and agnostics) don't try to impose our way of thinking on others. we do demand however, that when someone makes a claim of fact, that they are able to back them up with something that is tangible. For example: the abortion issue... some Christians and other religious groups feel abortion is wrong because it upsets their god (or version of god), while other Christians or religious groups don't feel as strongly on the subject... atheists would like for this god to present him/her self to set the record straight.

        it is the religious groups who try to impose their version of God's laws on the whole of society that we atheists appose the most. Especially when the holy books used to justify these laws can be shown to be demonstrably false... ie.. the Genesis fable.

        People often say that Science is trying to take God out of the equation... I say, yes, it is... why? Because it can... we can explain tonnes more today with scientific discovery than we could 6000, 2000 even 150 years ago... all without "God's intervention". Remember when Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury weren't planets? they were the Gods of the Romans and Greeks... now we know better. Remember when Leprosy was cured by killing a bird, and then smearing it's blood on the infected person with the feathers of a second bird?.. now we know better...

        Time for everyone to "know better"...

        November 24, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
      • Juniis Gallio

        > I think you have it wrong, we (atheists and agnostics) don’t try to impose our way of thinking on others. we do demand however, that when someone makes a claim of fact, that they are able to back them up with something that is tangible.

        There is a grave and dramatic difference between the proposed action of "demanding ... that they are able to back them up," and your _actual_ course of action, where you make derisive counter-claims. Don't get me wrong–some (only some) of those counter-claims are certainly meritorious. Some of them are every bit as fallacious as the claims made by theists.

        Case in point: your earlier post regarding the Dakota Creation Myth. Your first sentence: "Bible has no truth." Technically, even from a scholarly viewpoint, this statement is false, as there are several specific truth claims in the Bible that are accurate, verifiable from independent sources. All of these specific truth claims are trivial (one example is the existence of Pontius Pilate as the prefect of the Judaean province), therefore to say there is "no truth" is a false claim.

        More to the point, the assertion that science somehow disproves the existence of God is not simply false, but fallacious. Science can certainly weigh in on _some_ truth claims regarding the existence, attributes, or activities of a putative God, but can ONLY do so if those attributes are claimed to be reflected in a specific physical phenomena. Case in point: science cannot disprove the assertion "God created the heavens and the earth." Science most certainly can, and has, refuted the assertion "God created the heavens and the earth _6,000 years ago_," because creation is obviously far older than 6,000 years.

        To refute the second claim is well within the purview of science, and while some Christians (not all to be sure) reject the refutation, that's their problem–they reject the facts. To attempt to claim that science is capable of refuting the first claim is just as much a rejection of facts.

        If all you were doing was to, as you state, "demanding ... that they are able to back them up," I would have no problem. You are making claims that are every bit as fallacious. Please do not be offended if I hold you to the same standard as you hold theists to.

        November 24, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        The fact that the Bible contains some minor historical accuracies is as relevant as stating that the Dan Brown novels are true because they state that the Mona Lisa is presently located in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The big difference is that Dan Brown was honest enough from the onset to let people know his books are a work of fiction.

        Second, I never stated that science disproves the existence of God, what I stated is that science can explain much, if not yet all of the known universe, all without invoking the presence of a supernatural being as part of the equation.

        As to the claim "God created the Heavens and the Earth"... which God? (again the point made with the Dakota creation myth)... Why should anyone believe one myth over another when there is no supporting evidence for any of them? Christians want to impose their version of morality on the whole of society based on the existence of their version of God, discounting the existance of Vishnu and Baal, Thor, Odin and Ra, on the assertion that there is no credible evidence to their existance, yet their Christian God has the exact same amount of evidence to it's existance. Talk about holding a double standard.

        November 25, 2011 at 12:15 am |
      • Juniis Gallio

        > The fact that the Bible contains some minor historical accuracies is as relevant as stating that the Dan Brown novels are true because they state that the Mona Lisa is presently located in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

        If I were to make the claim that because the assertion about Pilate is true, then the non-testable assertions are also true, your analogy would be accurate. I make no such claim, and your analogy fails catastrophically.

        TO be more specific, I categorically deny that _all assertions_ in the Bible are true–many of them are contradicted by history and science. Personally, I tend to look at the Bible as a compilation of Jewish and early Christian literature that has been compiled from a variety of genres for a variety of reasons, few of which are relevant unless one wishes to take a scholarly examination of the individual texts.

        >The big difference is that Dan Brown was honest enough from the onset to let people know his books are a work of fiction.

        The Bible is not "fiction," as we use the term. It has elements of myth, large elements of legend, more than a little moralizing (according to the standards of the various cultures the original texts came from), some "history" (certainly not as we would practice the study of history, but compatable with "history" as it was practiced in those times). Fiction does not encompass any of these genres.

        The bggest problem most people have with understanding the Bible is that they do not understand how the originating cultures handled the texts. Believers cite them as "history," meaning history more-or-less as we practice it today. Nonbelievers may cite it as "fiction," forgetting that fiction is a different discipline entirely. Both views are wrong–equally wrong, for the same reason, a lack of understanding of the cultures the original texts sprang from.

        >Second, I never stated that science disproves the existence of God,

        Excuse me, you are quite correct: I cannot speak for other discussions, but in this discussion, I can affirm that you have not made that assertion. I should have clarified that this was a common atheist claim, without specifically attributing it to you.

        >what I stated is that science can explain much, if not yet all of the known universe, all without invoking the presence of a supernatural being as part of the equation.

        You are quite correct. Science is, however, completely and utterly incapable of dealing with assertions of spirituality or supernatural existence.

        > As to the claim “God created the Heavens and the Earth”… which God? (again the point made with the Dakota creation myth)…

        I use the claim as a general example, not a specific assertion. Heck, fimeilleur, I'm a "hard agnostic"–I have no idea that any God exists, and I'm quite certain that neither does anyone else, despite the multitude of claims!

        But let us suppose, for a moment, that there does exist an entity that could be called "God." Let us further suppose that this God somehow guided creation to occur, and guided it to occur vie the Big Bang, complete with all that implies–deep time, abiogenesis, evolution, the lot. If such a being exists, science is incapable of telling us anything about it, because science is only capable of dealing with natural phenomena (cf Gould's concept of "Nonoverlapping Magisteria").

        It's an irresolvable argument; even if we could agree on the existence or non-existence of such an entity, we could never have evidence one way or the other.

        November 25, 2011 at 1:12 am |
      • fimeilleur

        thank you for your answer, it is quite complete and forgive me if I don't point, counter point your entire text. The one thing I'll add is the question of burden of proof: No one can prove a negative.
        I can't prove that god does not exist. I also can't prove Santa Claus does not exist. But in life, we decide what is real and not real, based on what we feel is probable. I bet you wouldn't argue that Santa is a myth. I bet you would agree that the god(s) of the other religions, do not exist. Ra isn't real. Right? How about Isis? And she was hot!
        I think we can rule out god, in the same way we rule out any other mythological creature. We can't prove vampires or werewolves or fairies don't exist. But, I bet you would agree, that they are not real. They just don't fit in with reality.
        So, we can look for attributes of god, that should provide evidence that He exists.
        If positive evidence is found, we should conclude that god probably exists.
        If positive evidence is not found, then we should conclude that the Christian God, beyond a reasonable doubt, does not exist. Just like Santa. Just like fairies. Just like vampires.
        One of the most compelling reasons for rejecting god, is the fact that there are so many versions of god(s). Some, not even human (The elephant-faced god – Ganesha etc.). Each religion, each denomination of each religion, defines god's wants differently. All of these religions cannot be right. But they can all be wrong.
        Perhaps man has not yet found the one true god, or perhaps He does not exist.
        Why would the Christian god leave room for confusion? If He exists, wouldn't He want everyone to know He exists and is the one true god?
        1 Timothy 2: 3 – 5 says the Christian god does desire this:
        3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
        4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
        5For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
        1. If the Christian God existed, this fact would be obvious.
        So obvious in fact, that EVERYONE, or nearly everyone would believe in His existence. There would be only worshipers of the one true god.
        2. The Christian God's existence is not, in fact, as obvious as we would expect, if he existed.
        This fact is evidenced by the fact that ~68% of the world's population are not Christian.
        3. Therefore, the Christian God is very unlikely to exist.
        In the same vein as the above, notice how many denominations of Christianity there are (~ 34,000). Each denomination can show you scripture, that "proves" they alone, understand the wants of Jesus/god.
        All of the denominations could not be correctly interpreting the bible. Many are contradictory.
        Many of these denominations believe only their members will be saved.
        If the Christian god exists, and He is all knowing and all powerful and all good, why didn't He provide a bible that could not be misinterpreted? That everyone's comprehension of His wants would be the same?
        ambiguity – a word or expression that can be understood in two or more possible ways : an ambiguous word or expression.
        1. If the Christian god exists, He would want everyone to know His wants, without ambiguity.
        Otherwise, what would be the point of god supplying man with a book of His will?
        2. The bible god provided, is ambiguous.
        This fact is evidenced by there being ~34,000 different denominations of Christianity.
        3. Therefore, the Christian god is very unlikely to exist.
        Another reason to reject the idea of a god, is because there appears to be no need for one. Each hour of each day, science fills another gap in man's knowledge, that god once filled.
        We don't want to postulate what isn't necessary.
        John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
        If the Christian god so loves the world, why does he allow / cause so much suffering? Disease, famine, floods, earthquakes etc. ad infinitum, ad nauseum. ?
        I can explain the existence of these horrors as being due to natural causes, and evolution but my explanation fails when I include an all loving Creator in the equation. I keep getting a "Can't divide by zero" error.
        Christians say their god is omnibenevolent (all good); omnipotent (all powerful); omniscient ( all knowing)
        1. If the Christian god is all knowing, He would know of the suffering endured on earth.
        2. If the Christian god is all good, He would want to rid the world of suffering / evil.
        3. If the Christian god is all powerful, He would be able to rid the world of suffering / evil.
        4. Yet, evil persists.
        Therefore, the Christian god is very unlikely to exist.
        The Christian god is said to be omniscient and omnipotent. But these attributes are not compatible.
        If the Christian god is all knowing, if the future can be known, then even god would be bound by events in the future. Everything would be predetermined.
        1. If the Christian god, knows what will happen in the future, and does something else...then, He is not all knowing.
        2. If the Christian god knows the future and cannot change it, then He is not all powerful.
        3. The attributes attributed to the Christian god conflict with one another. The Christian god is very unlikely to exist.
        Evolution, with its evidence of transitional fossils, geological column, DNA evidence, vestigial organs etc., is very damning to the biblical Creation Story.
        If god created all the organisms on the planet, then He must have created even the diseases that have caused and are causing so much death and misery for humans and animals. He would have had to fashion the tick and the flea. The mosquito and blood flukes. And worms that bore into a child's eye.
        How could an all good god do such a thing? Why would He spend His time creating gruesome things to cause human suffering? Yet, these horrors exist. And if god didn't create them, who did?
        Evolution explains the diversity of the planet's organisms, including the pathogens and the parasites that have caused so much human death and misery.
        If the Creation Story is a fable, then Adam and Eve did not exist.
        If Adam and Eve did not exist, then there was no original sin.
        If there was no original sin, then it cannot be the reason god allows so much suffering in the world.
        If there was no original sin, then there was no need for a redeemer.
        If there was no redeemer, then Christianity is based on a false premise.
        .
        If the Creation story is a myth, then there is no reason to believe any of the bible.
        LOL, which is why the fundies fight so hard against evolution.
        The Christian god is no more likely to exist than unicorns, satyrs, fiery serpents, or talking snakes.
        The fact that people declare Him so, means nothing.

        November 25, 2011 at 1:41 am |
      • Juniis Gallio

        >No one can prove a negative.

        Actually, that's ... not quite correct. I _can_ prove that there is no Loch Ness Monster, because the loch does not have the available food to support such a beast. Of course, acceptance of my "proof" by the scientific community is one issue, acceptance by the "true believers" quite another.

        The problem of using science to probe the question of the existence of God is that science is _the wrong tool_. You seem to tacitly accept this in your discssion below by changing the basis of your argument away from science, and towards claims based on theology and logic–neither of which are, strictly speaking, science.

        >But in life, we decide what is real and not real, based on what we feel is probable.

        I would state it that "We decide on _what we believe_ is real and not real." I'm quite certain you would agree that just because one person, or even _every_ person, believes an assertion makes no difference to the truth or falsehood of that assertion. The truth or falsehood of an assertion is not based on whether or not it is believed.

        >I bet you wouldn’t argue that Santa is a myth. I bet you would agree that the god(s) of the other religions, do not exist. Ra isn’t real. Right? How about Isis? And she was hot!

        I may be misunderstanding you. Yes, I certainly would argue that the writings about these entities are myth (well, legend in the case of Santa Clause, but I tend to use a very specific distinction between the two.) Here's something to chew on: something can be mythic or legendary and _still be historically true_.

        "Myth" and "legend" are not indicators of truth or falsehood: they are specific genres of writing. If I write a historically accurate story about how George Washington led the American troups during the Revolutionary War, I am technically writing a legend, even if my tale is completely accurate to history. On the other hand, if I recount the story about Washington and the Cherry Tree, it is still legend, even though that event never actually occurred.

        Let's look at the Genesis Creation Myth: the point of the myth is not (and has never been, until relatively recently) to assert that the earth is less than 10,000 years old, or to assert that species do not change. The point of the myth is to give a formal narrative to the concept that in Hebrew beliefs, Adonai created the heavens and the earth. It has several elements that are impossible (the sky being a solid dome that holds back water being only one), but the specific assertions pale in importance to the central traditional belief.

        And yes, Isis was hot. Yowza! :)

        > I think we can rule out god, in the same way we rule out any other mythological creature.

        That's cool. I don't happen to take the same view, though I certainly understand the chain of logic that led you to the conclusion.

        > Perhaps man has not yet found the one true god, or perhaps He does not exist.

        Or perhaps, if such an entity exists, we are not capable of comprehending it. At least, that's my preferred explanation–with the added proviso that anything that is potentially that far beyond our comprehension is most likely irrelevant to our existence.

        >1. If the Christian God existed, this fact would be obvious.

        Actually, the Bible also asserts that God obscures his existence from those he rejects. (It's not a point of view I am advocating, but if we choose to discuss the topic in the context of Christian theology, we must take a rigorous view of the topic.)

        Which obviates the balance of your argument, I fear. Perhaps you and I were both rejected by this putative God, so he has blinded our awareness? Yeah, it seems silly to me too, but if we choose to consider a set of religious claims, we must examine the entire set.

        > If the Creation story is a myth, then there is no reason to believe any of the bible.

        And again, I do have to argue ths point, but my argument pivots on the definition of "myth," and I think my example above illustrates at least the beginning of why the point is debateable.

        As I said before, it's not a resolvable argument, though when taken with civility and respect between people, it certainly can be insightful, and can help us understand our fellow human beings to a greater degree. Of course, it can also be used as a club to metaphorically beat our fellows with–and both sides have been equally guilty of such behavior.

        The latter alternative is one I wish to avoid for myself, and discourage, if possible, in others.

        November 25, 2011 at 2:19 am |
      • fimeilleur

        The Loch Ness Monster (Nessie) is not a valid arguement because no-one attributes any special abilities to it (ie, no-one claims it can live forever without eating) secondly, people who claim it's existance try to back it up with (doctored) facts.

        What I am arguing is that if I were to present an invisible grenade that is situated over your head, and that you couldn't feel it, move it, or sense it in anyway, but that this grenade were set to explode in 15 minutes... you would be hard pressed to disprove it for the next 14 minutes and 59 seconds... Now, if I tried to control your actions (life) by making you believe that I can delay that explosion if you act in accordance to what I think is proper... well... I think you can see what I'm getting at.

        So, you hinge much of your counter argument based on the definition of Myth... Here's from Dictionary.com: a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, especially one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature.

        If you agree to this definiton, I'll continue. Why beleive the Genesis Creation myth, over the Dakota creation myth? And more importantly, why base social morality on one mythology over another...

        On to the assertion that the biblical god obscures himself from those he rejects... what did you or I do to deserve this? I was raised in a believing family... my mother still prays that I will turn back to the church (I think she hopes I'll just start thinking as she does... I think she's wasting her time) If he is obscured from us, why is he revealed in over 34,000 different ways to those he doesn't reject? You are quite right... it is silly, but I have contemplated all aspects of the Christian faith, and I do reject them all.

        The atheists and agnostics have had to hide their lack of beliefs for many years, now with the age of information, we are finding our voice. Our numbers are growing and we will not be subjugated to the unsubstanciated claims of the religious zealots who try to exert control and dominion over society. Be it radical Muslims in Afghanistan, or radical Christians in Texas... Yes, I believe in hospitable discourse, but I will not tolerate a claim of fact that can be repeatedly proven wrong. especially if that claim of fact is being used to try and control my behaviour... (ie pro-life vs. pro-choice, human euthanasia (we humanely kill injured animals, but won't extend that humanity to someone who is terminally ill), etc.)

        November 25, 2011 at 3:01 am |
      • junius gallio

        > The Loch Ness Monster (Nessie) is not a valid arguement because no-one attributes any special abilities to it

        Wait a moment, friend–I'm not comparing Nessie to God in that sense. All I'm doing is establishing that yes, it is possible to prove a negative, which I think you will agree can be done in that case.

        Now, proving a _universal_ negative is more difficult ... it can be done in a very few cases, with a relative degree of confidence, but cannot be done absolutely. For instance, I can state, with a pretty fair degree of certainty, that nothing with mass can exceed the speed of light in a vacuum. Since that statement is based on established scientific fact, I think we can both agree that it's a pretty certain bet.

        > (ie, no-one claims it can live forever without eating) secondly, people who claim it’s existance try to back it up with (doctored) facts.

        Now, this is one problem with God-claims and science: since science is the wrong tool to investigate the question, some people try to make definite claims about God that is actually outside the range for science to investigate the issue, then dare nonbelievers to "disprove" the claim. We can't–at least, not with science.

        > "...invisible grenade..."

        And now you go from "is" arguments to "ought" arguments. Don't get me wrong–I quite agree that such an argument is not only invalid, but grossly manipulative, but you have moved the goalposts.

        >So, you hinge much of your counter argument based on the definition of Myth… Here’s from Dictionary.com: a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, especially one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature.

        I can work with that.

        >If you agree to this definiton, I’ll continue. Why beleive the Genesis Creation myth, over the Dakota creation myth?

        You're asking the wrong person, my friend, since I don't believe in either one! :)

        >And more importantly, why base social morality on one mythology over another…

        By and large, here in America, _we don't_. Yes, there are exceptions (gay marriage is one I am particularly peeved about, as my son is gay), and yes, some people want religious-based morality to have a much greater influence in law, but if you look at the law as a whole, there is only a small minority of laws that is religiously motivated.

        That's the thing that both the religiously motivated and the anti-religious forget–the United States is a secular nation. Not only does the vast majority of our law and jurisprudence reflect that, but so does the voting tendency. That's one reason I don't tend to get too worried with folks like Bachmann or Perry: even if one of them did win the election (highly unlikely), they would be working with a Congress who knows that the American vote tends towards centrism, and the laws they make have to stand up in the courts. Yes, there are shifts to the right or the left–they tend to go in cycles–but the overall tendency is towards the center.

        >On to the assertion that the biblical god obscures himself from those he rejects… what did you or I do to deserve this?

        *shrug* The Bible asserts that when God chooses to reject someone, it's based solely on his choice, not on what the person "deserves." Heck, according to the Bible, no one "deserves" anything but condemnation. Taken from the point of view of modern psychology, it's not a terribly healthy belief set, but it's based on the originating culture (specifically, Christianity as an outgrowth of Hellenized Judaism).

        >The atheists and agnostics have had to hide their lack of beliefs for many years, now with the age of information, we are finding our voice.

        It's not been as grim as all that in America, and to some extent in England. Since the Enlightenment, atheism and agnosticism (and deism, another form of non-theistic thought) have grown more accepted. It would still be very difficult for an atheist to be president, though there is currently at least one open atheist in Congress, IIRC. Heck, we've FOUND our voice, long ago!

        My problem is this: just as Christianity was once a persecuted religion, then turned around to become the persecutor, atheism shows every sign of doing the same. Not to the same extent, of course: I vehemently disagree with Dawkins, not only because he rejects the concept of non-overlapping magisteria, but because he wants to eliminate Christianity. However, I imagine he would sooner sprout wings out his arse and fly around Oxford before he would take steps to physically harm someone just because they believed in some deity.

        But the derision? The verbal abuse and insults? If we perpetuate such behavior, then we engage in the same behavior that we object to when disrespectful and abusive Christians fling insults at those who do not believe like we do. Is it morally wrong for them to cast insults and verbal abuse? I am of the opinion that it is–therefore, I will do my best to not engage in it, and will encourage others (both believers and nonbelievers) to refrain.

        It's an issue of right and wrong–another area that science cannot help us in, but an area that, in many ways, is more important than science. If we cannot maintain the moral behavior that we are capable of, then by all means _let the Christians write the laws according to their morality_, for we will have no moral ground to object.

        Anyway, get some sleep, and happy thanksgiving to you!

        November 25, 2011 at 4:42 am |
      • fimeilleur

        working nights... :-( no sleep for me for a while...

        Happy Turkey day to you too... mine was last month... ;-)

        It's been a pleasure conversing with you... even if you're playing "devil's advocate". Peace.

        November 25, 2011 at 5:55 am |
      • barry

        Nicetroll, people with religous beliefs do crazy things, over and over throughout history we see it. Burning people at the stake for an astrological find, burning witches, then on to the present suicide bombers, killing people for writing a book as happened with the book titled the satanic versus the author was not killed but many others were, over a book.

        I think in these cases others religous beliefs should be judged and put to a stop. I am sorry if I believe religion as it is today causes more problems than its worth. I think if people have religious beliefs they should keep it to themselves.

        November 29, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • barry

      dougaussie what thoughts are in your head ? your work,making a living,sex,religion,ect... You are like most of our population just average and pretty ignorant, most people could care less about science and have no sense of the curious. You are what most of our population is and its really sad.
      If I had billions of dollars I would give SETI a few hundred million and NASA a big chunk also, I would give anything to know if there were other intelligent races out there. There are so many things I long to know and I am glad I am not the average person who has a closed and uncurious mind.

      November 24, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  8. moose

    Gee, just think of what happens if someone shows up and finds a bunch of tribal groups each with their own mythological pantheon gibbering at each other. go snort that sociology up your nose!

    November 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  9. 69ster

    Why do all this when you could just read the bible?

    November 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • SamSkwirl

      You Sir, are a Fcuking Idiot.

      November 23, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • barry

      Read the bible ? where do these idiots come from ? reading the bible does a few things, first it closes ones mind to so many wonderful things. all the many different religions of our world are in total conflict with each other, so which one is the correct one ? the mormons ? the seventh day adventists ? the jehovahs wittness ? the luthrens ? the babtists ? the christian science ? the scientologists ? buddahsts ? the muslims ? There are to many to list here and that is why all religions are just plain stupid !!! Humans came up with religions when we first became sentient because when we did it allowed us to know there will be an end to our being, for some this is just to much to face so they come up with a religion and this then allows them to believe when they die they will go somewhere else. This for many is a big relief (oh thank god I will go to heaven) these people are almost always low I-Q and just cannot understand anything that requires any type of higher thought. It is much easier to believe in magic and fairy tales for these religious types i just wish they would keep out of discussions that they are not able to contemplate !

      November 23, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  10. solomon

    considering, us "humans" have not figured out how to get along with each other....I wonder how the introduction of a race from a different planet will work out? We fight with people that live in the next house, the next village, the next town, the next city,...State, Country, Continent, ....Maybe, when ever we do meet these "others", they will either destroy us, or teach us how to live with each other.

    November 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Kenneth

      While I agree that us humans don't quite know how to get along with each other, if we DO find life somewhere else it'll most likely be in the form of microscopic organisms or something to that degree. For us to find and interact with life forms as advanced ours is highly unlikely in our lifetime since we don't have the funding or technology to travel to Mars yet, much less outside of our solar system. So......I wouldn't worry about humanity being killed off by martians yet. :)

      November 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
      • solomon

        Probably the most "abundant" forms of other life would be microscopic bacteria..but if you believe Carl Sagan,...there are "more planets in the Universe then grains of sand on all the beaches on Earth"...it is quite likely that there are others in at least a similar stage as us....hopefully more intelligent. :-)

        November 23, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • barry

      You are quite correct just look at what happened to the native americans when we came to their land ! Yet we humans will never ever devolope the technologies required to travel from sun to sun (star to star) we do right now have the technology to travel to mars and beyond but leaving our solar system is beyond anything we can imagine. Any race that came to visit us humans would have technologies so far beyond us that they would not need our world, I really doubt they would even let themselves be known to us. In a hundred years or more there will be so few natural resources left on our world that going into space will be much more diffucult than it is now, if we do not get serious about becoming a spacefaring race now (which we are not) it will be to late in the future. Our future here is bleak, over population will be our largest mistake and likely the end of us all.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  11. Kenneth

    The fact that a simple story of humans searching for life on other worlds (and finding evidence of the possibility of it) spawns religious fundamentalists out of the woodwork shows how insecure they are with their own belief system. There is nothing in this story that should threaten believers in God. Just face the fact that science is ever evolving and it may indeed find evidence of things that challenge your belief system. But isn't that exciting? It is to me.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Byron

      No Kenneth, God created the world flat, and the universe revolves around it, and that is the end of it! There is no room for your silly "facts"! Its blind faith or nothing at all! lol

      November 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
      • Kenneth

        Lol Byron.

        November 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  12. Sunny Murchison

    HUMAN BEINGS KILL LIFE ON EARTH 24/7, I.E., ABORTiON, SUICIDE, HOMOCIDE, ANIMAL SLAUGHTER, CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, DEPLETION OF EARTH'S FINITE RESOURCES AND GLOBAL WARMING. WEDESTROY LIFE AND NOW 'SEARCH FOR LIFE.' GOD HELP US!

    November 23, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • SamSkwirl

      End yourself, you bible thumping fcuking tool.

      November 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • barry

      Hey sunny ! We humans had better start doing more abortions alot more, and get rid of the crazy religious nuts who believe they must have as many children as they can. We are now at 7 billion people how will it be with 14 billion ? when will our population crisis end ? it will not be pretty and I promise all you religious nuts god will not save us from ourselves.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      Your "Caps Lock" key is stuck... push it again and you can resume typing as if you have something intelligent to say...

      November 24, 2011 at 1:54 am |
  13. George W

    If God created the universe he must also have created the laws that govern it.
    Once religious leaders believed the earth was the center of the universe and declared those believing otherwise heretics. Are we now so all knowing that we should once again ignore scientific discovery because it may change the way we view the creators intent?

    November 23, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • TR in ATL

      What does GOD creating the universe have to do with religious leaders who thought the earth was the center of universe? GOD created all things, all science, all scientific laws, and yes, flawed human beings who make bad mistakes. Scientific discovery is how we improve life, improve drugs, materials, etc. The key is not to forget where all these things came from. And to your point, there are flawed human beings making startlingly bad proclamations. and my vote is that evolution falls under the "human beings making bad mistakes" category. One day you and I will face the true Judge and all things will become clear.

      November 23, 2011 at 10:25 am |
      • FM

        If God created ALL things then God created evolution too. Which to me makes this tapestry we call the universe far more interesting.

        November 23, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
      • barry

        TR in ATL you say lest we forget where all this came from ? Well all you see and all you are came from stars that exploded (super nova) billions of years ago. You and everything you see are made of elements, these elements heavier than hydrogen were all formed from stars, you are star dust, everything you eat, drink, drive, love, you can thank dead stars.

        About us all being judged in the end, ya I cant wait to speak to a neanderthal man or women in heaven, and all the other sentient beings who have died out. Hey if your all loving god is just that then why would all this I mentioned not be true ? This after life crap is just that, keep reading fairy stories and keep in your comfortzone of thinking there is an after life.

        November 29, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      You presuppose much...

      Which God are you talking about?

      November 24, 2011 at 1:52 am |
  14. Jim

    "The person who follows the pursuit of reason unflinchingly toward its end will be atheistic or, at best, agnostic." - William Lane Craig in his book on Christian apologetics "Reasonable Faith"

    November 23, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • SamSkwirl

      Pretty Much... and your point?

      November 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  15. Victor Campbell

    The Gale Crater? As in Dorothy "We're not in Kansas anymore" Gale?

    November 23, 2011 at 7:28 am |
    • GARY

      WHY ARE WE SO EAGER TO SEARCH FOR LIFE IN OTHER PARTS OF THE UNIVERSE WHEN WE HAVE NOT YET LEARNED HOW TO TREAT LIFE ON OUR OWN PLANET?

      November 23, 2011 at 8:18 am |
      • SamSkwirl

        ...You, Sir, are yet another idiot in a sea of morons.

        November 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
      • FM

        Because we're human and humans need drama.

        November 23, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • Victor Campbell

      I've answered my own question: The Gale Crater is named after John Frederick Gale, a 19th century astronomer. Oh well, not as much fun as Dorothy Gale, but probably more appropriate.

      November 24, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  16. dudley0415

    Not sure why any scientific article is attacked by religion or why religion is attacked by science. it is as unrealistic to ask a person of faith to measure their philosophy with a scientific tool as it is to ask a scientist to to present a theorem that describes how he 'feels' about a particular waveform or whatever.

    I sympathize with those of faith. Because I do I can say this: Preaching in this forum is unlikely to bear any fruit considering the audience. rubbing your faith in their faces helps no one, rather, it makes the preacher a stumbling block; and you should know what the Messiah said about stumbling blocks. It is not the way to evangelize. As a wise man once said,

    "Evangelize! If necessary, use words."

    November 23, 2011 at 3:57 am |
    • SamSkwirl

      Religion is SO FCUKING retarded.

      November 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
      • Yerst

        One gets the impression that you are an expert on one of those two subjects, and I'm guessing it's not religion... Settle down little girl.

        November 23, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
      • barry

        samskwirl you got that correct thankyou !

        November 24, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
  17. hello

    Talk about controlling the flow of information. CNN is weeding out comments it doesn't like there by helping to paint positive images for certain topics.

    November 23, 2011 at 2:15 am |
    • junius gallio

      If the censored comments were as insightful and relevant as your second accepted post, I finally have one reason to be thankful for "censorship."

      November 23, 2011 at 2:53 am |
  18. hello

    PRESIDENT! ok. thats interesting. certain topics appear to have mandatory moderation.. political topics that is. Censorship by CNN

    November 23, 2011 at 2:13 am |
  19. hello

    SENATOR

    November 23, 2011 at 2:12 am |
  20. bwydeman

    thrilling description of the creation of this world is given in Job 38:4-7, by God Himself: "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" Here it says there was great rejoicing when this world was created. These morning stars referred to are the angels of God, for we see them so referred to in Revelation 1:20. But who are the sons of God, these beings who shouted for joy when this world came into being? In Luke 3:38 when the ancestry of Christ is traced back to creation, it refers to Adam as the son of God. In other words, Adam could look to no other being than God as his Father. Using this same reasoning, these various sons of God referred to in Job 38 must be the first created beings of the many other inhabited worlds in God's universe.

    Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

    16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

    17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

    18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

    19For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;

    20And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. Colossians 1:15-20

    John 1
    1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    2The same was in the beginning with God.

    3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

    4In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

    5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

    6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

    7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

    Hebrews 1
    1God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

    2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

    3Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:

    4Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

    5For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

    6And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

    November 23, 2011 at 1:33 am |
    • fimeilleur

      Ummm no, your Bible has no truth ...

      The creation story began long, long ago when Waziya, the Old Man, lived beneath the earth with his wife, Wakanka. Their daughter, Ite, grew to be the most beautiful of women, thereby captivating the attention of one of the associate Gods, Tate, the Wind. Though not a Goddess, Ite became the wife of Tate who lived at the entrance of the Spirit Trail. She bore Tate four sons, quadruplets–the North, West, East and South Winds. The first son became cruel and hard to get along with, so Tate took his position as first son and gave it to his boisterous second son, West Wind. Thus, the order of the Winds became West, North, East and South.
      Because of the association with the influential good and helpful Gods through the marriage of Ite to Tate, Waziya became dissatisfied and yearned to have the power of the true Gods.

      Iktomi, the Trickster, always anxious to further discontentment and promote ridicule, bargained with Waziya and Wakanka and Ite, promising them great power and further beauty for Ite if they would assist him in making others ridiculous. He even promised Ite that her enhanced beauty would rival that of the Goddess Hanwi, the Moon, who was the pledged wife of the great Sun God, Wi. So Waziya, Wakanka and Ite agreed to Iktomi's bargain.

      Possessed of a charm given her by Iktomi, Ite became more and more conscious of her beauty and less and less devoted to the welfare of her four sons, the Four Winds. At this time, Sun saw Ite and, struck by her incredible beauty, invited Ite to sit beside him at the feast of the Gods. When the time for the feast arrived, Ite came early. Finding the place next to the Sun vacant, she took it. Sun was pleased. When Moon finally arrived, she saw her seat had been taken, and she was so ashamed that she hid her face from the laughing people, covering it with a robe. And Iktomi, the planner of this event outlaughed everyone.

      After the feast, Skan, the Sky God and judge of all the Gods, called a Council. He asked for the stories of Wi, the Sun, who had forsaken his wife; of Ite, who dared take the place of a Goddess; and of Wakanka and Waziya who had wished for godlike powers; and Iktomi, the schemer. Then Skan passed Judgement.

      Sun was to lose the comfort of his wife, Moon. He was to rule only in the day, allowing Moon to rule at night. Whenever they were together, Moon would always cover her face in shame. Ite's sentence was severe because of her vanity and negligence of motherly and wifely duties. She would give premature birth to her next son, who would be unlike all other children, and her children would not live with her but with their father, Tate. She was, furthermore, instructed to return to the world and live without friends. Still more, she would remain the most beautiful of women, but only half of her would be so. The other half would be so horribly ugly that people would be terrified at the sight of her. Henceforth, she would be called Anung-Ite, the Doublefaced Woman.

      Wakanka and Waziya were banished to the edge of the world until they could learn to do good for young children and old people. They too were renamed for their misconduct, becoming known as the Witch and the Old Man, or Wizard.

      Iktomi was also banished to the edge of the world where he was to remain forever friendless. He accepted his judgement with his usual smugness, reminding Skan that he still had the birds and the animals with whom he could live and upon whom he could continue to play pranks.

      Tate, who was also judged for marrying Ite, was instructed to raise his children properly and to do a woman's work. Thus he lived along with his four sons, the Winds, and his fifth son, little Yumni, the Whirlwind, in their home beyond the pines in the land of the ghosts. Each day his sons travel over the world according to his instructions.

      One day, as the Four Winds were on their tours away from home, a shining object appeared outside of Tate's tipi. Tate looked out and saw a lovely young woman, beautifully dressed. Tate asked her who she was and where she came from. She replied that she came from the Star People, that her father was Sun and her mother, Moon, and that she had been sent to the world to find friends. She also told him that her name was Whope.

      When the Four Winds and Whirlwind returned home, they were surprised to find that their father had taken a woman. But after Whope had prepared for each of them, her favorite meal, and no matter how much they ate, their plates remained full, they realized that she was supernaturally endowed. They learned that their father treated her, not as a wife, but as a daughter. They welcomed her into their lodge.

      Soon, each brother wanted Whope as his woman and competed with one another in showing her favors. Tate decided to hold a feast, to which all the Gods should be invited. At this feast Tate honored his guests with presents. Many told stories of their power and there was much dancing. Then the Gods asked Tate how they might please him. He told them that if they honored his daughter, Whope, he himself would be pleased. Then they asked Whope what she wanted. Whope arose and stood by Okaga, the South Wind, who folded his robe around her. "I want a tipi for Okaga and myself, a place for him and his brothers." So her wish was granted and Whope became Okaga's wife. And then, as a present for the couple, the Gods made them the world and all there is in it.

      The banished Waziya and his family were also involved in the story. In the beginning, the Wizard. the Witch, their daughter, the Double-faced Woman, and Iktomi, the Trickster, were the only people on earth. Iktomi grew tired of playing pranks on birds and animal's. He had fun doing it, but they never showed any shame over their misfortunes. So he, again, went to Anung-Ite, asking her what she most desired. She told him that if she would tell him, he should never resort to tricks and pranks again. She explained that if her people tasted meat and learned about clothes and tipis, they would want such things and come to where they could be had. With these instructions, Iktomi then went to the wolves, seeking their aid in bringing mankind to earth. Again, in return for help, Iktomi swore to abandon his pranks. The wolves agreed to this and Iktomi instructed them to drive moose, deer and bears to Anung-Ite's tipi, where she would prepare food, clothing and tipis to entice mankind.

      Then Iktomi gave to one of the wolves a packet, which Anung-Ite had prepared containing tasty meat and fancy clothing for the man and woman. He then directed the animal to take the packet to the entrance of the cave which opened into the world. The wolf did as instructed and when it saw a brave young man apart from the others., it presented the packet, telling the young man to taste the meat and advising him and his wife to wear the clothing. The wolf told the young man that the people also should be allowed to taste the meat and see the clothing, and that there were many such things as these on earth. The young man, Tokahe, the First One, was pleased to do this, for now he would be considered a leader. When the people tasted the meat and saw the clothes Tokahe and his wife wore, they were envious and asked how they too might obtain such things. The old man of the group then directed that three brave men accompany Tokahe to find out where such good things came from and to prove that Tokahe was truthful.

      The four young men set out and, led by the wolf, they entered the world from the cave. They were led to a lake where Anung-Ite had pitched her tipi. She appeared to Tokahe and his companions as a beautiful young woman. Iktomi appeared as a handsome young man. The four young men were shown much game which Iktomi had previously arranged with the wolves to have driven past. Anung-Ite gave them many tasty foods and many presents of fine clothing for them and for their people. Iktomi told them that he and his wife were really very old, but by eating this earthly food they remained young and attractive.

      When the four young men returned through the cave to their people, they described what they had seen. But an old woman, doubted such wonders, cautioned them to be wary. The people argued, some wishing to go with Tokahe, others saying that he was a wizard. When Tokahe offered to lead any who wished to follow him up to the earth, the chief warned them that whoever ventured through the cave to the earth would never find the way back. Nonetheless, six men and their wives and children joined Tokahe, and they left the underworld guided by the wolf. When they reached the earth it was strange. They became lost and tired, hungry and thirsty. Their children cried. Anung-Ite appeared and tried to comfort them, but they saw the horrible side of her face and ran in terror. Iktomi appeared in his true form and laughed at their misery. Their leader, Tokahe, was ashamed. The revelation of Iktomi's falsity and Anung-Ite's ugliness was then removed by the appearance of the Old Man and the Witch, who, according to the prophecy at the time of their banishment, had come to understand the qualities of mercy and tenderness. They appeared to Tokahe and his followers, bringing food and drink. They lead the disheartened group to the land of the pines, to the world of the Ghosts. They showed them how to live as men now do. Thus Tokahe and his followers were the first people on earth.

      Their descendants are the Dakota.

      See? No Adam, no Eve.

      November 23, 2011 at 2:24 am |
      • junius gallio

        Beautiful–I thank you for sharing that with us.

        I also find great beauty in the Genesis creation account, and in the Wiccan creation myth–I will not accept any of these accounts over science when discussing things in a scientific context, but I can appreciate the wonder and joy in them.

        November 23, 2011 at 2:49 am |
      • Sally

        That was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

        November 25, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  21. the 15 year old with a vision

    want to see eviloution, look at humans.
    we see a whole bunch of variety of humans. how come alot of people in africa have black skin, while alot of people in colder regions have lighter skin. how come people who live in a mountanious region have bigger lungs (scientifically proven)
    how come people who live in islands have tan skin, and the majority of thm know how to swim. how come the average man is increasing in height, and weight lol.

    you say evolution takes millions of years that is true, how come 2 million years ago the human brain was only 1lb, but now it is 3.2lb. how come asians look asians
    while ethiopians look ethiopiany.
    how come there were 2 species of humans homo saphiens and neantherland. how come there are people with thick thick hair, while others with silky smooth thin hair.

    and for you religous people, how come the bible says that earth was created 6,000 and some years ago. but yet we have ancient drawings dating back over a 100,000 years ago. and we have books and calenders dating back over 8,500 years. how come humans and chimps are so similar. i am a (was a) christian and my bible teacher told me that animals do not think and just make decisions off of instinct, yet we have videos of chimps teaching other chimps how to use sticks and rocks to get food. we have videos of birds that drop nuts on the road so cars can run thm over and then the birds eat the inside of the nut. so ur gonna tell me cars have been around since the begining of birds. give me a break. and remember everything has a begining guys, what if we are the first major advance civilization in this universe, that may be unlikely but just think about it. and for people that say we are a puny un intelligent species. please take a second and look at all the mavel we have done. from cars to phones, to the internet, to planes. how does a plane even work. and what is the internet how is it made. even bombs and bullets. we may have a pretty dangerous and hard way to get to space but just think even with our way u still have to awe and uhh when ever you see a shuttle launch. even a man reaching the moon is pretty awesome. creating a spacesuit is remarkable. it could survive the heat and coldness of space, with the pressure, and radiation, with mobility, and supply us artificial oxygen. come on that is coooooool!!!!
    also super computers, jets and a lightbulb is pretty amazing. from 10,000 years ago living in huts and caves, to now having cars, phones,computers, artificial light, medicine, planes, toilets, faucets, and stores. i went hard core camping 5 months ago and saw how difiicult it was surviving off the land i stayed for 1 and a half months. with nothing but the clothes on our back. it was great. but how i missed cars, phones computers, and how i missed light, and stores, and skin rash creames, and washing machines, and toilets, and a bed, and other people. so please take a moment and just think of what i have said. i want you guys to grab a old phone and open it up and see how sophisticated that technology is, even thou it is old. now just imagine 10 years from now. hopefully 10 years from now i could be the one designing the new technologies. wish me luck!!!
    a 15 year old boy from chicago illinois signing off.

    November 22, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • CheeseSteak

      what's your point?

      November 22, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
      • the 15 year old with a vision

        idk, i just wanted to say tht cuz alot of people where arguing. so i just said somethin that wud make thm think.

        November 22, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • belky

      Great thoughts, great questions, great aspirations, I hope your dreams come true kid!

      November 23, 2011 at 1:21 am |
    • Father of the 15 year old with a vision

      Nice thoughts son. You make me proud!

      November 23, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • SamSkwirl

      You my friend, glimmer like a diamond among the piles of feces that comprise this comment section.

      November 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
      • barry

        Wow ! Sam that was pretty rude, I am an athiest yet I dont call anyone piles of feces, do you have lots of hate bottled up ? Man take a few valium and calm down.

        As an athiest I always treat others as I would have them treat me, not all people have the same beliefs and as long as other's beliefs do no physical or mental harm to other's then I feel I should just " let it be " or else how bout " imagine all the people " . Well thats how I feel about it, calling people feces has no place in a talk about looking for life elsewhere, also ranting ones religious beliefs also should have no place here, thankyou !

        November 25, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • barry

      15 year old teen – You go bro good job ! And to the person who said ( whats your point ) ? I say go ask your god for the point because sometimes god is telling you to find the point. quote from the christian dating commercial.

      Why do religious people always find the need to preach their religion in science related discussions ? There are plenty of religious sites on the net for you people to preach your nonsense, go there be happy and await the rapture.

      November 24, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • barry

      One more thing I would like to say to the 15 year old, When I was your age all I thought about was building up my muscle cars and picking up girls. At 16 I was working for a safeway store and for the next the next eleven years I did nothing else but that. I didnt think about the future at all, then safeway left my town and I was out of work, I began using opiates,pills,herion ect.. I am now 48 and have nothing I have totally wasted my life, its like I did not reach maturity untill I was 40. I was very moved by your comment and hope you keep it up, had I thought about such things at your age and took all the math,science,engineering,ect.. classed and gone to college my life would be drastically different.

      I hope the best for you, I see your dads comment and it makes me jealous I did not come from a family such as you have, take care and good luck in you life. barry.

      November 25, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
      • the 15 year old with a vision

        thank you bro, and i am happy that my comment helped you. i am persuing my dreams i am studying at whitney young and hopefully i can make it to the university of chicago.

        December 8, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
      • barry

        I wish you the best study hard and make your dreams come true !

        December 8, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
      • 16 year old kid with a vision

        I wanna let u know, that I am pursing my dreams. Right now I amearning
        HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and Python. I plan on building the next generation of comouters

        July 26, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  22. Charlie_In_VA

    I can't wait to see the first evidence of life outside our planet. I really think that life (whether it's something familiar to us or something much more basic) is not only likely, it's probable, and I hope to see evidence of it in my lifetime. We are all made of star stuf.

    November 22, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • SamSkwirl

      Yes friend, we are made of the stuff of stars. ... Here are the ingredients..
      65% Oxygen
      18% Carbon
      10% Hydrogen
      3% Nitrogen
      1.5% Calcium
      1% Phosphorous
      0.35% Potassium
      0.25% Sulfur
      0.15% Sodium
      0.15% Chlorine
      0.05% Magnesium
      0.0004% Iron
      0.00004% Iodine

      On todays market we are worth about $4.50 USD
      But I would not want to be the one breaking down those chemicals.... sounds messy!

      November 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
      • Dude

        Thank you Edward Elric.

        November 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
      • sonic10158

        @Dude I thought I'd never see a Fullmetal Alchemist reference on CNN

        November 23, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  23. sonic10158

    Not sure to be excited or nervous if they do find intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. The intelligent life might be a great help to humanity, but we might find that they want to destroy us.

    November 22, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  24. neck

    i love the fact that our punee race of people have this glimmer of hope in finding another race out inthe cosmos for what so that we can try to destroy them to or visversa

    November 22, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • SamSkwirl

      Seems like your still working on figuring out Race VS Species... but none the less.

      November 23, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  25. kirkincali

    There will always be controversy regarding the funding of scientific research beyond Earth. Truth is, space exploration stimulates not only our curiosity, but it provides us with a greater understanding of the complexities of natural laws that help us here upon this planet as well. A recent comment was made about religious implications into space exploration; the Bible is interpreted a million ways by millions of people. I am Christian and do believe our planet has indisputable evidence of extra-terrestrial activity, and that the Bible reveals much about some of these activities. The Bible does not cover the history of the of the world from the beginning to today, but it would do well for scientists to open their minds to the concept of God in science. I, for one, believe that God follows the pattern of set universal laws to accomplish His work and therefore may appear to be 'hidden'. No doubt, one day in each of our lives, the truth shall be made known concerning God and all of His works. No matter what we believe today, the truth shall come in due time and we shall all be in awe – no matter which 'side of the line' we stand on recasting God vs. Science. I say that God works through science, and that to refuse to search for and acknowledge Him there while exploring His universe may be a terrible reality in the end when this life has brought our powerless souls to be judged before Him.

    November 22, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Ned Racine

      Give it up. Stop holding onto the whole brain washed "Christian" thing. As more and more evidence comes out disproving religion, the simple minded change their religious beliefs. Now God works through science? Right. God dod not create man, man created God, and the evidence is now overwhelming that God does nor exist. You are just behind the curve.

      November 22, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
      • Alex Gessong

        @Ned: science can't actually prove that there is no God. If God is invisible, intangible, and supernatural, that's beyond the realm of scientific inquiry. Even if nothing in the Bible is true (aside from the existence of the Roman Empire and other things for which objective evidence exists), that doesn't mean there is no God. If God exists, the existence of God would be independent of a book that humans wrote or any human's concept of divinity. Dr. Hawking demonstrated that the universe can exist without a God, but not that "God doesn't exist." If there is a God, no human should expect to be able to comprehend a God. Heck, lots of rational people are convinced that there's life on other worlds, despite having no evidence at all to prove that there is. Kind of like religion, really.

        November 22, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  26. Dreamer96

    I don't really want to get into the religion vs Science argument that is going on here, but I would pointout to those saying revolution has not created any new animals since man has been around. Well what about the many breeds of dogs that now exist all from wolfs I believe...and any farmer will have to admit we grow corn which came from a form of grass that has been changed by man, and anyone who grows flowers knows we have created hundreds of new flowers by mixing different plants together...so this is a form of evolution created by, and speeded up by man to fill a need..and what is a mule, but the off spring of a male donkey and a female horse...a mix of two different species, and so far all male mule are infertile, but some female mules are not....

    November 22, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Dreamer: You're correct that evolution is constant. This is why there are often fears that some infectious agent will evolve into a form that's more readily transmitted. HIV is an example if a virus that evolves rapidly. Evolution happens more rapidly among microbes, but it's absolutely an ongoing natural process. The creationists who scoff at evolution simply don't understand what evolution is. Through recombinant DNA technology, humans now have the ability to drive evolution, much to the fears of some people. Evolution is real, but some people fear reality.

      November 22, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
      • barry

        Alex very good, I would like to add to that, When man first found penicillian it worked wonderfully, for a while ! The little critters( bacteria ) who cause us humans (animals) so much pain and misery live and die on an hourly rate, this amazing speed at living and dieing allows evolution to be seen in action.

        The bacteria and viruses are able to constantly evolve so rapidly that we are now having problems devoloping ever stronger antibiotics, I can tell you this by experience, I had MERSA a very bad infection, I was in a nursing home on I-V antibiotics for 2 months, hey I was attacked by highly evolved bacteria, true !

        November 25, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
  27. l

    I think u guys need t

    o learn history.you think u smart but u still lost .

    November 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  28. carol

    instead of wasting money trying to find ET, we should be trying to solve the problems plaguing our own planet!!

    November 22, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Ned Racine

      Good thing you weren't Queen Isabella.

      November 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Carol: if E.T. is real and has high technology, E.T. might have answers to the problems that plague our planet. Besides, finding E.T. could spur technical innovation and help end strife among nations on Earth. We might find it wiser to work together to advance our world, so that we'd be ready in case E.T. ever decided to pay us an unwelcome visit. Finding E.T. might unify our world and encourage new generations of scientists and engineers to find ways to extend the human presence into the galaxy. Discovering life on another world could change our world in ways we haven't imagined.

      November 22, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Brandon

      Yea...because the piddly amount of money being spent on the pursuit of knowledge on the universe we live in is being wasted and would solve ALL OF OUR PROBLEMS. Sigh.... people are so short-sighted. You can thank your ability to communicate poorly thought out comments on the internet to some waste of money spent on scientific knowledge.

      November 23, 2011 at 3:09 am |
    • SamSkwirl

      You Sound as Dumb as a Brick... Please read any book other than the Bible.

      November 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  29. aliensinthebible

    The search for life will be high-jacked when Satan and his demons disguise themselves as the only other life in the universe during the end of days. He will convince practically all humans that they planted life on earth and they are the true "gods" based on their supernatural power (even raising the dead). They will claim all historical/religious sightings, technological advances, pyramids, monoliths, etc. were from them here on earth, including Jesus as well as alien/human half-breed Goliath/other super humans and religions' gods. Based on your current scientific "proof" and theories, this would placate all human-kind religious or not, except for those that recognize the signs and stay faithful to the end until Jesus returns with his Angelic army at Armageddon. What better "great deception" to turn all of humanity against Jesus? Read the Bible and open your mind and heart... it's all in there, just not called aliens. God Bless!

    November 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Suma Beetch

      My gawd, you are a real whack job.

      November 22, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      You only said one thing that is true in your entire linguistic diarreah... but you spelled it wrong... It's spelled : God Be Less... not God bless...

      Many people make that mistake...

      November 23, 2011 at 4:42 am |
    • barry

      aliensinthebible- Wow thankyou I got a chuckle out of that stupid funk, I suggest you read a few books a good one for you would be GOD NO ! by pen jelette or I think there is one called LETTING GO OF GOD by a susan ? hmm not sure about that one she did a show on HBO called letting go of god, she was a devout catholic untill one day 2 mormons came to her door and asked her if they could come in and talk about god. She let them in and soon found their religion and their god worked in totally different ways from hers.

      This led her on a journey of discovery and in the end she LET GO OF GOD. Some more easy reading for someone such as you would be a book written by BILL MAHER its a good and funny read. I think RICHARD DAWKINS is a little much for you though you should read some if his books anyway.

      November 25, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  30. Dreamer96

    We just discover radio in the last 100 years or so...we have no idea what a truly advance civilzation considers advanced technology...We're still stuck in the stone age as far as a civilzation a few million years older would be....

    Nobody seems to be talking about the string and rubberband theories out there by mathmatics..
    We must have 26 spacetime dimensions for the bosonic string theory to be valid....
    So what if aliens use a different spacetime dimension for travel and communication then we do...

    We are a little arogant about our own intelligence..and ignore other forms of intelligence around us..

    Ants and bees have a social order, comunication, build, wage war, but have a brain the size of a pin head....

    Studies done on plant for example show they react to the presents of people..
    Plants give off electrical pulses in their leafs around people...studies done where they react electrically to people entering a room who water and care for them , but send different electrical signals when different people enter a room and harm their leafs, or burn them...

    November 22, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  31. ngc1300

    Several observations. The Fermi paradox is easily dismissed by realizing that the distance scale and time scales
    make direct observation of ET communication unlikely. In all likelihood, anyone out there is communicating at wavelengths we aren't looking at (currently, we are observing at 21 cm, the so-called "water-hole" of hydrogen emission, and only beginning to look at optical wavelengths). That's like reading one page of a 1000 page book, and saying it makes no sense. Further, as we see in our own technology, the tendency is toward eliminating 360 degree open broadcasting (like radio and broadcast TV), and sending signals in a more tightly directed way, such as cable or microwave, which is very directional. It's much more economical of energy, and it means less signal leakage, so it would be proportionatly more difficult to detect, unless they wished it. As for the argument that we shouldn't advertise our presence, too late. We've been doing it for 100 years, so if anyone within 100 light years is listening, they will know we're here.

    As far as being a waste of money, two points. 1) basic research invariably pays for itself, in ways unpredictable, and on unpredictable time scales 2) the great majority of the monies spent on these projects are private donations and grants, not tax dollars.

    These discussions always break down into God versus no God. Why? There's no need for conflict. As biologist Stephen J. Gould pointed out years ago, science and religion are entirely separate disciplines. Science asks "How did we come to be here?" and "How do things work?". Religion asks "Why are we here? What is the purpose of our existence?".

    When I read these discussions, I am reminded of a Far Side (Larson) cartoon, showing God in his workshop. He's standing in front of a jar labeled "Earth" with a salt shaker in hand, labled "Idiots" and thinking to himself, "Just to make things interesting".

    November 22, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      I have to say, I do have one BIG problem with your claim that these discussions always turn to "god vs. No god"... what about which god? Surely, you're not implying that the billion or so followers of Hinduism are all wrong? After all, there is as much supporting evidence for Vishnu and Shiva as there is for Allah, Yaweh, or Jesus.

      Someone once said, not all religions can be right... but they ALL can be wrong.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:56 am |
      • barry

        Fimeilleur, fimeilleur you are using good ole common sense here, common sense is not understood by believers, it seems as though they do not even have one of the best senses evolution gave ( some of us ) !

        November 25, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  32. TheCosmos

    This is to all of you who attempt to figure me out. Your most knowledgeable selves are me and I am YOU! There is no outside. No God. Need there be; I am self sufficient. You don't comprehend me? You will in time; I proceed toward full self awareness – the big bang, and the universe will continue to unfold! Close your eyes and I disappear because I am nothing without YOU.

    November 22, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Rapp

      You are stupid.

      November 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • barry

      Hey cosmos slow down on the weed and LSD, or keep it up and start writting fantasy !

      November 25, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  33. RTRETRET

    We spend millions looking for alien life, yet when someone says they found it....we accuse them of wearing a tin foil hat and being crazy. It is a strange world.

    November 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • MyTake

      I will make it simple for you.
      Tin Hat = Talk (usually a lot) with no proof or formal education in the subject, lacks reason, does not listen.
      Scientist = Educated, test hypothesis develops theories based on repeatable/observable facts. Has ideas peer reviewed.

      November 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
      • smeal

        Yes science can be good, but science also makes alot of assumptions when there are no FACTS to back what science says and that my friend is a FACT.

        November 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
      • I'm The Best!

        @ smeal
        When has science done that anytime recently? Everything that I hear from scientists usually are based on some sort of fact, even if it is a little premature to say for sure they still have a reason for saying it, always based off of facts.

        November 22, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
      • Billison

        *cough* evolution *cough*

        November 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
      • sharoom

        No, the process of evolution is a fact. Populations of organisms can and will adapt to selective pressure. This is most evident from microbial resistance against antibiotics and human driven evolution like agricultural and dog breeding. The latter are most familiar because we select for the most useful and flamboyant traits for us.

        What isn't known as fact is what drives evolution naturally, because there are so many things that can influence survival and reproduction. You may think it's survival of the fittest, and yes, that's often quoted, but WHAT is fitness? It's not as simple as "social Darwinism" where the most selfish survive. Why? Because it's clearly evident that many social species including humans benefit from a level of altruism and community. Evolution is a lot more complicated, but every researcher in the field has already accepted that evolution occurs. I'm sorry, but they are the authority on this, and If you want to even begin arguing against them, you need to understand what DNA and proteins are, and at least some idea about cell biology. Your argument is not legitimate if it's from a position of ignorance.

        November 22, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
      • billison

        So you are saying The THEORY of Evolution is a fact? Then why is it a THEORY?? Oh yeah I forgot... there are no facts to support otherwise. :D

        November 22, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
      • billison

        If all the researchers agree on this matter what is this interesting site I found.... hmmmmm......

        http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/

        November 22, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
      • Brandon

        Billson, you are either a troll or you don't actually understand the meaning of theory in the context of science. Evolution happens, it is a fact.

        November 23, 2011 at 3:12 am |
      • fimeilleur

        Oh, Billison... how you have been duped...
        From the site...Since Discovery Institute launched this list in 2001, hundreds of scientists have courageously stepped forward to sign their names.
        Who are the Discovery Institiue? Creationists. The same guys who tried to bring Intelligent Design into the class rooms... and failed because it is NOT science. Their newest strategy is playing on "fairness" in the classroom.

        Not that science is ever considered a fact due to the number of scientists who hold a understanding of what they think is true, but the Nation Centre for Science Education (NCSE) also came up with a list of their own... Scientists who accept the Theory of Evolution whose first name is Steve. As of 11/7/11, there are 1179 "Steves" who have signed this list (no Bob's, no George's... just Steve's)

        Now, to be clear, I only bring this up because you seem to be "impressed" with the fact that you stumbled upon this site where there are scientists who "agree" that science should be challenged and questioned... HELLO!!! That is the VERY definition on science. It's the way the game is played. it's like finding a list of Umpires that agree a baseball player should score a point because he rounded all four bases without being put Out...

        Billison, I encourage you to go to the NCSE web site and learn what real scientists are ACTUALLY saying about evolution, not what the Discovery Institute (the most dishonest "institute" out there) will have you believe.

        November 23, 2011 at 4:29 am |
      • billison

        Still no proof...

        November 23, 2011 at 9:53 am |
      • fimeilleur

        And yet you accept the premis that there is a God... based on what "proof" do you have? I know you have less proof for your version of God, than any theory in science. So if you're done being dishonest with your word play, I'm done with you.

        November 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
  34. Dana

    The only life that we know of (this planet) exists within a tiny band of necessary conditions that came about by, what science declares, where random events. Examples include: the precise ratio of all gasses, minerals, and elements; the presence of the size of our sun, neighboring planets; the size, distance and orbit of the moon; the fortuitous but random conglomeration of chemicals that triggered “life”; the inexplicable development of complex life forms in a universe that science says is always moving toward entropy. There were millions, if not billions of chance occurrences that resulted in life on this planet. Based on science’s explanation, it is utterly irrational to propose that this happened even one other time, let alone millions of times across the Universe. How do we explain science’s frantic optimism in their search for life elsewhere? Sure looks like a leap of faith to me. (p.s. I am NOT a Christian)

    November 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      These occurances may be random, but there is still usually a high chance of these things happening. For example, The earth being just the right distance from the sun.... It's just in the goldilocks zone, and so is mars, this zone is bigger than most people know. The sun didn't need to be the perfect size, we just needed to be close to the correct distance. The chemical composition of the planet isn't THAT random. Most of the lighter elements are further from the star because the star pulled most of those elements into itself when it was forming which is why gas giants are usually further away. This goldilocks zone is also a very good candidate for a planet to also have the right atmosphere and chemicals.

      Many of these 'random events' go hand in hand, each one making the other more likely. So it's not that much of a stretch to say it may have happened a few more times on a one planet circeling one of 100 billian stars in one of 100 billian galaxies.

      November 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
      • Dana

        You say, “the occurrences may be random, but there is still usually a high chance of these things happening”. But what mysterious force is INCREASING the chances? That’s like saying, if you play the lottery every week, the higher the chance you will win. That’s utterly wrong, the chances are the same every week and DO NOT increase from drawing to drawing. (If one will acknowledge this, there is no need to read further) A famous example of the supposed “power” of random chance is that of the monkeys with the box full of thousands of alphabet letters. The claim goes that if a bunch of monkeys, over a very long period of time, dump out the letters, put them back in the box and dump them out again, eventually, one of the dumps will result in a coherent novel. But this is pure absurdity. First, like the lottery, the chances do not increase over time. Secondly, after millions or billions of iterations, the letters would be completely disintegrated. So too of any random form of life. Thus, the chance of life appearing elsewhere in the universe are, well, astronomical. That pun is entirely intended!
        And let’s consider the “goldilocks zone”. You claim that it is much bigger than we think, but on what scientific grounds? So far, even with great effort, there is not a spec of evidence of life in that zone except on earth. Secondly if we agree that the area from the innermost orbit of earth to the outermost orbit of Mars is the goldilocks zone, it is an infinitesimally small mote of space in relationship to the known universe and, therefore, severely lowers the likelihood of other random recognizable life forms existing.

        November 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
      • Dana

        Oh phooey! That parenthetical statement in the first paragraph should be “If one will NOT acknowledge….”

        November 22, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
      • smeal

        Some of you are saying it takes hundreds of years and some are saying it happens rapidly. And dogs to wolves that is not evolution each animal created after it's own kind. You all that believe evolution need to really study in depth. Again all I see are anilmals adapting to their environment. Again evolving from one to another would have made HEALINE NEWS WORLDWIDE where scientists actually witnessed that evolution, have not nor will we ever hear or witness that far fetched account.

        November 22, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
      • junius gallio

        > You all that believe evolution need to really study in depth.

        We have. Far more than you, if you truly believe the next quoted statement.

        >Again evolving from one to another would have made HEALINE NEWS WORLDWIDE where scientists actually witnessed that evolution, have not nor will we ever hear or witness that far fetched account.

        It does make the news–but not the front pages, mainly because _it's a commonplace occurrence._

        Strains of bacteria that used to respond to penicillin, but are now penicillin resistant? Evolution in action. E. coli that develops the ability to digest citrates (thus becoming a new species)? Evolution in action. A species of skinks in New South Wales seems to be in the process of changing from egg-laying to live birth. The Italian wall lizards on Pod Mrčaru. The blue moon butterflies in Samoa.

        The issue is not one of evolution not occurring–the issue is that, when it does occur, people like you deny, ignore, and/or disparage the occurrence, or when confronted with evidence that cannot be dismissed, people like you run from the conversation, only to pop up a few days or weeks later presenting the same arguments that were refuted last time.

        You are not the first to engage in such behavior: http://www.conservapedia.com/Lenski_dialog

        November 23, 2011 at 2:31 am |
    • Tim in MN

      Yes, but no one ever said that life can evolve in different ways. Life as we know it evolved the way we are familiar with. And when we're talking about billions of stars within billions of galaxies it seems that the odds just simply come out in favor of other carbon-based life.

      November 22, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
      • smeal

        So if we evolved from one animal, why are there still animals from which we evolved from and why are they still not evolving right now? Sorry evoloution is wrong

        November 22, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
      • I'm The Best!

        @ smeal
        They are still evolving right now. It's just slow and takes hundreds of years for it to evolve into a completely new species. And they're still around because at evolution doesn't have to kill off the organism that something evolved from. Just because something may be better equiped to survive in one environment doesn't mean the original organism can't still survive and florish.

        November 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
      • smeal

        Look at history, since man has been around thousands of years there has been no documentation of one animal evolving from one to another. With something as big as this topic it would be recorded.

        November 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
      • Katie

        smeal, you really don't understand what evolution is. Species are constantly evolving, and we and other present-day animals all share common ancestors. The more related 2 species are, the closer their common ancestor was. Example: We and chimpanzees shared a common ancestor not too long ago, and that ancestor then split off into groups, one of which became human and the other of which became chimp. That common ancestor no longer exists except in fossils. Which yes, we have found them and can make all of those links. Our common ancestors to say, a horse, is much further back in history.

        November 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
      • I'm The Best!

        @ Smeal
        This has been seen and documented, there are some plants in europe that people have shown to have slowly changed their physiology enough to qualify it as a different species of plant. This doesn't happen often because it takes so long for the change to happen and it needs to have the right environmental stresses for it to take place.

        November 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
      • smeal

        You have your opinion and I have mine. If you beliveve you came from an animal then I will not argue,When science can truly and honestly show proof of evolution from one species to another I might believe it. But I just do not see that happening even throughout history, I see animals adapt to their environment and thats about it. Have yourself a good day.

        November 22, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
      • Katie

        smeal, there's plenty of evidence existing to prove that animals evolve, and eventually evolve so much they're classified as other species. If you choose to ignore it because you don't understand basic concepts, then that's your issue. Enjoy living in ignorance.

        November 22, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
      • smeal

        T he things you all claim to be evidence, is not even close . Evidence is well documented over observing and showing proof, Again all these things that are supposedly evidence does not convince me all I see are animals adapting to their environment. Where do you see in the news that one animal evolved from one to another and where in the past has it been documented in the past that states what you all claim? There is no evidence supporting one animal evolving to another, It would have made headlines worldwide.

        November 22, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
      • sharoom

        The most visually apparent example I can think of are the many breeds of dogs from wolves, and that's only because we made every effort to select for traits that are useful to us and/or look cool. Keep in mind these were very rapid and varied changes (still many many years) because we can artificially impose very inconsistent selection criteria across generations (i.e. we can control what traits we want over from one generation but then change our preference or select for emergent traits as they appear).

        November 22, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
      • junius gallio

        @ smeal:
        > So if we evolved from one animal, why are there still animals from which we evolved from and why are they still not evolving right now

        FOr the same reason that if Ms. Jones marries Mr. Smith, there are still Jones' in the world.

        Evolution does not affect the entire species at once: it affects a local individual, who then (provided the changes are beneficial) lives to spread that change to his or her progeny. Maladaptive changes die out and go extinct. Adaptive changes thrive. But just because one individual experiences an evolutionary change does not mean that it will affect his or her siblings, or those not related to him/her.

        Your argument is one made from ignorance ... but that's OK. We are all ignorant from the default. We can all learn ... providing we are willing to accept the evidence for what it is, rather than reject it because it does not suit our preconceptions.

        November 23, 2011 at 2:39 am |
      • fimeilleur

        @ smeal,

        Please look up the "evolution of cetaceans". The fossil record shows in leaps and bounds how a land based, dog sized mammal became the largest mammal alive today, the whale... it took 100s of millions of years to happen, but it happened. it is possibly the best series of evolutionary processes that flow from species to species, where fossils fall EXACTLY where evolution predicts them to be found... Do some reading, but avoid Kent Hovind, Ted Haggart, Kirk Cameron and the Banana Man, Ray Comfort. I recommend Thewissen et. Al. for whales, or Dr Eugenie Scott for evolution.

        November 23, 2011 at 5:24 am |
    • BR

      "We" are what necessarily evolved in these conditions. This tiny band you refer to applies to the kind of life suited to these conditions. Although, the tiny band isn't really so tiny. But the point is it is the conditions that dictate the form of life developing within it....not the other way around.

      November 22, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
      • Dana

        When you say “We are what necessarily evolved” it sounds like you’re suggesting it was inevitable. And if that is so, there are two things you’ll have to do. First, you have to refute Science’s laws of physics, geology, and biology which insists our current state is arrived at by ungoverned cosmic, solar system and earthbound twists of fate. Secondly, you’ll have to explain to us what remarkable force was at play to make life inevitable.

        November 22, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
      • BR

        Inevitible is your term...not mine. It simply means that the conditions dictate the life that develops within it. The conditions are not tuned for us...we have become tuned over geological time spans to thrive in this environment. If the conditions were different...different orbit...more or less cosmic rays, different mix of gasses in our atmosphere, then the life on this planet would be very different. Would you, then, propose that life was delicately tuned for that alternate form of life? To be frank, if that form of life grew to be sentient and as self-centered and arrogant as humans, they probably would believe the same nonsense.

        November 29, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • elle

      I agree. The possibility that there may be living organisms on another planet I would entertain; that they are other "algal mat" types of life enduring throughout the bilions of years that ours did. But that they evolved intelligence that would make them interesting to us, that number would be vanishingly small. Among those, that the creatures would have developed technology that allowed them to communicate, smaller still. And finally that we would happen to stumble upon that in the billions of galaxies... so remote a chance that it is impossible to me. I love science fiction and the imaginary worlds, but as far as reality... And should we find life forms on another planet and be able to make physical contact, I would certainly be concerned about both their potential deadliness to us and ours to them. So far, science has not been able to discover a "second evolution" on our planet; that life arose twice. Our DNA is traceable to every living structure, down to the most ancient proto-bacteria, which still expresses in current living forms. So in the 4.5 billion years of earth's existence, life arose only once, which gives some idea of how truly rare it is. (Yes, theoretically other evolutions could have arisen many times and been wiped out that many times, but that would hold true for other planets as well.) So life that endured only happened once. What does this say? Celebrate your life and the lives of other living things: Spiders, worms, your kids, the guy in the next cubicle, the mold in your shower stall - all are miracles in their own way. Be happy, accept, rejoice. The odds against any of us being here (as opposed to flushed, you know what I mean) are truly astronomical. Whether you are religious or not, celebrate your gift and don't rain on it because some trivial (or even non-trivial) things didn't go right.

      November 22, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      Dana, you're doing the calculations wrong... yes, in hind sight, the probabilitiy of life evolving on earth seem astronomical, but in reality... it happened.

      Take you, for example. Your mom and dad copulated one day and out came "Dana". What are the odds of that happening? Your dad produced 100,000,000 sperm per day (assuming he was healthy) but on that one day, only one joined the egg and made you, but if he had sex on a different day (the day before, for example) a different "you" would exist (assuming a sperm reached the egg), and the day before that, and the day before that, etc.... so your 1 in 100,000,000 chance of being born, is now astronomically huge!!! And it gets bigger if you factor in the fact that your dad got here with the same odds, therefore, the odds of you being "you" are just to huge to comprehend, especially when you factor in the fact that your grandfather's odds of being who he was... in short, you shouldn't exist, the odds are just too great...

      But here you are... reality.

      November 23, 2011 at 5:10 am |
    • barry

      Dana, minerals and gases (are elements) and the ratios of many of them have changed over time, oxygen levels have been much greater in the past, it allowed insects to grow very large, fossils of dragon fly wings 3 feet accross. Oxygen has also been so low humans could not have survived on earth. So these perfect ratios you speak of are not and have never been perfect or stayed the same. (ratio not unique)

      The size of our sun, this is not relevant to our being here either. If our sun were much smaller and the earth were then much closer life could still happen. The same goes if the sun were much larger and earth were then further away life could still exist. So it seems the size of our G-2 rated star is not unique or required for life to have evolved here. There are stars (suns) that do grow to large for life to likely happen, one of the reasons is they do not live long enough and burn up all their fuel, but thanks to this happening we have all the elements we have. (sun not unique)

      Our neighboring planets, These have little to do with life on earth and are not unique. Jupiter does attract many of the asteroids and comets so it could play a role, yet if jupiter would have stopped the asteroid that took out the dinosours then we likely would not be here. So the other planets sizes or positions are likely not unique.

      Our moon, Here you do have a point if our moon were not here then life on this world would be much different. Yet the moon should not be considered unique, it could happend again. Also our moon has not been in the same place since it was formed. It is currently moving away from earth a little more than an inch per year. In the past when the moon was so close our tides would have been hundreds or thousands of feet high and it orbited earth every 6 hours, well life for us would have been much different at that time but I dont think our moon should ever be called unique.

      Then on your millions or billions of chances, have you looked at the number of estimated stars in our universe lately ? It may have just gone up. With a trillion galaxies and how many sextillion stars there are, then to me its real hard to say life has only happened here.

      When you use the words (leap of faith) hey come on now faith is usually taken as something to do with religion so its like you are trying to put the two in some context. I would think when the atom was first split there were some who had faith that splitting atoms could be made into a weapon, faith, at least I think is a poor word to use here. One could have (faith) in their idea. It all comes down to this ( if we dont search we wont find it ). What is wrong with searching ? its not costing you a dime, I doubt one penny of (your) taxes went into funding the hubble telescope but if one dollar did would you say you did not get your monies worth ?

      I am a believer in looking but I dont think we will find any sign of (intelligent) life elsewhere in my lifetime, I hope we do though. I do think if we could go to mars and some of the moons around jupiter or saturn that we may find microbial life or evidence of it being there in the past. It makes me sad when people want to stop funding things that may cost the individual pennies out their taxes, when I look at the photos from hubble I think wow ! That was worth every penny.

      November 25, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  35. Hoofleau

    We don't need to search for them. They will find us and the facts will be known. 2012 will be the year earthlings will be clear on this issue.

    November 22, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Promethean Dude

      If you want an interesting take on the year 2012, the search for life in the universe, and the coming technological singularity read the new novel: "The Promethean Divide"

      November 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • barry

      In the year 2012 the myan calendar comes to an end, big deal ! If they were still here they would extend their calendar. The world will still be here pretty much as you see it now in 2013 wait and see, 2012 end of the earth rubbish.

      November 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  36. JDT

    If you want to find aliens, put up a border, man it, and post signs for no trespassing. Then, you'll get all the aliens you'll ever (not) want...

    November 22, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  37. Sally

    I participate in a program called 'Planethunter'. It allows civilians to scan data from the Kepler telescope to help identify stars with candidate planets. It is very easy and can be quite captivating. If anyone is interested in this go to zoouniverse.com and sign up.

    November 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  38. Dreamer96

    No signs of alien life ...Have you even looked at a Platypus?
    Some would say that's got to be aliens playing around with the earth creatures DNA....
    First alien scientist says: Hey look what I made here...heh, heh..
    Second alien scientist responses: Make a female now, and we'll set them both free...heh, heh..

    November 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  39. David Osah

    The bible said about demons in heavenly places. There are truly life somewhere else. The question is that dont you think it will be for our own good to leave them aloooone. I agree with Grothner, Troll King.
    "NO, THIS MY SPOT..... GRRRRR, ME SMASH YOU NOW, SMASHY<< SMASHY!!!!!!!!" then they'll kill all of us.

    November 22, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • grovestreet

      What are you talking about? None of that made an inkling of sense.

      November 22, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Dude that dislikes ure bible

      Man people like you make me shake my head..Get you're nose out of you're bible start realizing not every Life form is BAD!
      Iam glad we found more planets, i hope and i wish i could be one of the people that lives on a diff planet

      November 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  40. Dreamer96

    If you want to find alien life in outer space, you have to go fishing, with some good bait, just send up 3 or 4 drunk fellas from California, and the aliens will swoop in and grab them....Next best states are Washington, Texas, and Florida..
    Be sure to keep the cameras rolling, they are pretty quick you know....

    November 22, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  41. Bud White

    Er, maybe we shouldn't even be looking. Maybe it would be so good for earth if we did find life elsewhere. Stephen Hawkins said much the same thing

    November 22, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • DJCowboy

      Actually, Hawking said we shouldn't be sending signals out to others to show we're here, if we do reach a civilization that has the ability to come to us, it might not go over well. He compared it to when Europeans came to America and it didn't go well for the Native Americans.

      November 22, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • grovestreet

      I think that if there are extraterrestrials, they've already known about (and have probably been monitoring) us for a long time. They haven't attacked us yet, so their mission is probably one of peaceful study. If we can establish contact and learn what they know about science, the universe, and life itself, the benefits to the human civilization will be astronomical.

      November 22, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
      • Jim

        Humans started broadcasting to the cosmos only recently. Given the time that it would take for those broadcasts to reach other worlds and the time that it would take for an invasion force to travel to Earth, I wouldn't conclude that the fact that Earth hasn't been attacked yet means that other life forms are benevolent.

        November 22, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
      • Dan

        Reasonable, but something of an over-simplification.

        November 22, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • jean

      Brings to mind the Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man."

      November 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  42. A Fan of Fermi

    The Fermi paradox (Fermi's paradox or Fermi-paradox) is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for, or contact with, such civilizations.

    It is all too amazing, and yet ignored, that for most the odds of extraterrestrial life is so massive, and the numbers of inhabited planets so huge, and yet, there is zero response, recognition, acknowledgement, notice, or any example of their being throughout this and all other galaxies.

    If, on either side of a million years, or a thousand years, other equal civilizations have so long existed, why can we not see their handiwork?

    It's because we're probably alone.

    November 22, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Howie

      Basic physics Fermi. Stellar distances are so vast, that the evidence of intelligence you seek may have left its planet of origin millions of years ago, and still has not gotten here yet. Our civilization went from candles to radio telescopes in 100 years. The fact that we have not received signals indicating alien intelligence just means that they have not been out there for billions of years, it does not mean that the are not out there right now.

      November 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
      • A Fan of Fermi

        You don't go back far enough. If this universe is indeed at least 13 billion years old, and our particular solar system only about 5 billion, that leaves 8 billion years for other systems throughout our galaxy to have cultivated and travelled throughout this galaxy. Fermi noted that. And, yet, there is no sign whatsoever, when there should be signs everywhere.

        November 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
      • Tom

        FOF says: "If this universe is indeed at least 13 billion years old, and our particular solar system only about 5 billion, that leaves 8 billion years for other systems throughout our galaxy to have cultivated and travelled throughout this galaxy. Fermi noted that. And, yet, there is no sign whatsoever, when there should be signs everywhere."

        Slightly faulty logic here. For other systems to have 8 billion years assumes that habitable zones existed from the moment of the Bang, which is highly unlikely. Plus, given the vastness of space and that we're tossing around billions of years here, what's a million years, anyway? A culture equally developed as us would essentially be "invisible" if they were more than a hundred light years away. If a more advanced culture exists, simply extend the radius of invisibility past the time when they began to emit electromagnetic radiation such as TV or radio and we'd still be completely oblivious.

        November 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • BR

      Scale...Fermi....scale.

      November 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Azby

      One scientist set up his house ready for dinner and got everything ready, candles, suit, the lot. The only thing missing, was his dinner. He wanted lobster. He decided that the world is so big there must be lobster out there so he sat there and waited. However the lobster never came! :O Then he realised, that they have no reason to know he was there, no way of knowing he's there, no method of getting there, and if you compared this analogy to our situation, it would turn out the lobsters don't have the same radio frequency as us.... BASIC math says there's aliens.....

      November 22, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Dreamer96

      Some would say past civilizations are proof of contact...we still can not match what some did many years ago in stone cuttings and building methods....

      November 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
      • GatorALLin

        ...If we found some piece of advanced technology.... then that theory would hold some actual value. All the old stuff we dig up, we would find something amazing that could prove that.... Nope, don't buy that for a second.

        November 22, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
      • Dreamer96

        Maybe they just don't leave their trash lying around...What about tombs with stone carvings of what looks like light blubs in Eqypt, Rockets in Central America?

        November 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Fermi?

      The fact remains that you cannot be sure either way right now. Does Fermi take into account that there might be something in interstellar space that might block signals from reaching us?

      November 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
      • barry

        dreamer you have been watching to many episodes of ancient aliens I have seen them all and I doubt any aliens went through the trouble of traveling trillions of miles to come to earth and only show us how to cut stone. I saw the episode where they asked a modern stone cutter to duplicate what he was shown. He said he could do it but it would cost a lot and take lots of time. Yes I would very much like to wittness some of the amazing stone cutting techniques these people used back then.

        November 25, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • cornholio

      Most ants in the Amazon Basin have never seen a human, so we must not exist.

      November 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Alternatively...

      Or you could argue that the surest proof of intelligent life is that they've completely ignored all of our radio signals so far.

      November 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
      • Reddragon

        Bahahahaha ... I needed that:)

        November 22, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • ty

      What if the highly evolved life elsewhere is in a form that is not compatable with our expectations of communication? Insects for instance. Very hardy, more adaptable, and different...

      November 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
      • Dreamer96

        Yes there you go...
        Ants and bees have a social order, comunication, build, wage war, but have a brain the size of a pin head....Plants give off electrical pulses around people...studies done where they react electrically to people entering a room who water and care for them , but send different electrical signals when different people enter a room and harm their leafs, or burn them...

        November 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
      • Dreamer96

        Nobody seems to be talking about the string and rubberband theories out there by mathmatics..
        We must have 26 spacetime dimensions for the bosonic string theory to be valid....
        So what if aliens use a different spacetime dimension for travel and communication then we do...We're still stuck in the stone age as far as a civilzation a few million years older would be....
        We just discover radio in the last 100 years or so...we have no idea what a truly advance civilzation considers advanced technology...

        November 22, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Lee S

      The universe is expanding at rates that could make radio contact impossible. Even if there was one advanced civilizatoin per galaxy there would be hundreds and billions of advanced civilizations out there. Intergalactic contact will not be made ever with the methods we currently are limited to.

      November 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • GatorALLin

      ...I love the Fermi Paradox.... here is a twist on that idea.

      http://news.discovery.com/space/a-mathematical-twist-on-the-fermi-paradox.html

      but you have to first understand or appreciate the Drake Equation.

      The Drake equation states that:

      N = R^{\ast} \cdot f_p \cdot n_e \cdot f_{\ell} \cdot f_i \cdot f_c \cdot L \!

      where:

      N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible;

      and

      R* = the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy
      fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
      ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
      fℓ = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
      fi = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
      fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
      L = the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space.[3]

      November 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  43. Fontroe2

    "...this wonderful dessert NASA keeps serving up, a heavenly hash of sorts"

    That's a mixed metaphor of sorts. Hash does not = dessert

    November 22, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • OS2toMac

      I guess you've never had "Heavenly Hash". It is a mixture of fruit (pineapple, orange slices, grapes) marshmallows, nuts and sour cream. Doesn't sound appetizing (at least I don't think it is), but it is a dessert.

      November 22, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  44. 2bits

    First we should search for life in Congress. It sure doesn't look to promising does it?

    November 22, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Sally

      LMAO

      November 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  45. I. M. Musing

    Chandashekar's wonderful work gives us a clue as to whether we are alone or not in the universe. By extrapolating from his work, solar systems surround by the sun go supernova every 4-6 billion years. You need at least a cycle of two blasts to get the fusion of the higher atomic number molecules necessary for a complex life.

    So, with the age of the universe around 13 billion years old, it is safe to assume that if there is intelligent life out in the universe, it is probably behind us or on an even keel with us in terms of intelligence and development. There could be and probably is all sorts of other life in the way of lower life forms. However, in terms of competition for the human species in terms of technology, we are probably the bleeding edge.

    November 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • clearfog

      Chicxulub, snowball Earth, butterfly wings flapping. There are way too many random events to make that statement. Any one of them could have postponed technology by a billion years or so. A hundred years is important, 1910 v. 2010. A billion is unimaginable.

      November 22, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
      • CP in FL

        1910 vs. 2010 would be a thousand years, but I get your point.

        November 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
      • Howie

        @ CP FL – math was never your best subject was it?

        November 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • pzanga

      "we are probably the bleeding edge"
      Really not sure how you can make that statement. As Clearfog implies, the universe is so large and so old that there's no way we can infer how life and technology may have evolved elsewhere. Plus, we only have one example to base our assumptions on – Earth. It's all pure conjecture.

      November 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Howie

      I think you assume way too much. I'd say it is at least as likely that other species are a billion years or more ahead of us. We will probably never actually KNOW, but the more hints we find the further we evolve.

      November 22, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      That does make sense, but think if the human race had been first instead of dinosaurs. Compared to them, humans have hardly had any time to become more advanced. If there was a species that evolved a large brain around the same time the dinosaurs were first coming around then they would have better tech than we could get close to. Even if we kept the pace we're moving for the next thousand years then they will still be so far ahead because they had a few million year head start.

      November 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • elisha

      Thats a bit misleading.
      While certainly we need those heavier elements for life,
      The Sun will NEVER go Supernova, only the rarest types of stars will do this.
      The most massive stars, and ones that are in usnual binary systems where they dump gasses onto each other.

      November 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  46. JodiFoster

    The Human head weighs 8 lbs.

    November 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • clearfog

      How about the ones filled with rocks? See some of the posts below.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Milton Platt

      Comprised mostly of useless fat.....LOL

      November 22, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  47. Norm

    Who cares about other worlds.
    We aren't finished destroying this one yet.

    November 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • JDT

      awesome and on point...

      November 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  48. closetiguana

    Why do I get the feeling once life is found outside of earth the religious people will claim the bible didn't say god didn't put life on other planets he just didn't bother to mention it (like the dinosaurs).

    November 22, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • benice

      You have no idea how ignorant you just sounded. I put you in the same pot as the religious people you just rediculed.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
      • BR

        benice – Iggy is absolutely correct. Religions are great at post-hoc explanations. Something doesn't fit what was written two and three thousand years ago...just say god-did-it...he just didn't 'reveal' it to us. Happens all the time.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
      • clearfog

        Notnice Benice. Not very bright, either.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
      • Fermi?

        Ignorant for stating what always happens? What planet are YOU from?

        November 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      I always liked "it's there to test our faith" response. That one always makes me laugh.

      "god put dinosaur bones in the earth to test our faith and tempt us."
      "god put aliens on that other planet just to test our faith" HAHAHA! always a good one

      November 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • JoeSeattle

      Wow. You went from this article to some anti-religious rant? You must have your own private little conversation going on in your head.

      The beginning of Genesis doesn't address many, many things. It's one small introduction to a series of collected documents that primarily focus on relatively recent events – sort of a fast-forward from the beginning to the emergence of the understanding of right and wrong in the human species.

      You should find a way to define your life by what you do believe, not what you don't. When you've formulated that, you might be worth hearing from. In the meantime, try not to be so predatory – it'll be easier for you to figure out what's wrong with that if so doing doesn't necessitate swallowing so many regrets.

      November 22, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
      • closetiguana

        Thanks for the lecture, Joe. I simply made a prediction. Time will tell if I'm correct.

        November 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
      • horseshaver

        Joe, i'd have to say that he's correct. Religion has a way of explaining things on theory that has not basis in fact. The problem with religion in general. Science is about fact and research. Religion is about faith. It seems that religion seems to try to trump scientific fact. despite your personal views, many religious people do not think, they follow orders and do what they are told, or believe what they are told.

        November 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
      • Fermi?

        You just keep on praying to your thousands year old dead carpenter Joe. Leave the real thinking to people with self awareness.

        November 22, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • ignie

      the Bible mentions dinosaurs, and doesn't mention anything beyond life on earth as it is out of scope.

      November 22, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
      • closetiguana

        ignie –
        Doesn't it say that god created the heavens? That's not on earth.

        November 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
      • BR

        Arreunnngh??? Citation please.

        It also says that he created light before stars....mustard seeds are the smallest...planting two different crops side by side is a sin.

        November 22, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
      • Greg

        "the Bible mentions dinosaurs"

        Isn't it strange that the Bible makes no mention of the germ theory of disease ? That would have been more useful to the human race than any mention of dinosaurs or any "casting out of demons" as a treatment of illness.

        November 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
      • Fermi?

        God? He's my favorite fictional character!

        November 22, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • ty

      I think religion is simply the act of buying into mythology (a story), to help rationalize the unexplainable experience of life. It seems that the human thought process requires concrete, compartmentalized equations in order to feel “at peace”. This requirement is not necessarily compatible with the apparent, infinite and abstract equations that exist in nature. It is almost impossible for us to accept that there is no attainable explanation for the way life works or where it came from. Hence, there comes a need to assign meaning. I.e. religion is born. For me, this distinction hints at the limits of our intelligence. In this sense, religion could be considered as a natural defense mechanism. Without an answer, we cannot go on with our daily lives. In short, people will believe what they want if it makes them comfortable with the obscurity of life. Regardless, however, we can take comfort in the fact that a belief will not change the parameters of reality.

      November 22, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  49. Badly-Bent

    I'd like to know how many of these "candidates" have magnetospheres? Or some other protection from what their sun (s) is/are emitting.

    November 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • IAmAnAlien

      Part of the requirement for being a candidate is also to be of efficient size to hold an atmosphere like that of the Earth. Many planets in the "habitable zone" have in fact been eliminated as candidates because they were either too massive that the gravity would be crushing, or too small to hold enough of an atmosphere to protect life for elements in space.

      November 22, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • tie

      These are the questions/comments worth reading.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  50. Sandra Clark

    The commentator referred to the as "science fiction." He needs to understand that there is a difference between science and science fiction.

    November 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  51. Aubrie

    Who the heck am I to arrogantly question what "God" can and can't make, when, where and how.....? "He" has no limitations.... to place them on "Him" is somewhat ignorant, not to mention rude. Look around you. Creation is fluctuating all the time... Modifying itself....evolving... that right there tells me that ANYTHING is possible.

    November 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      That presupposes the existence of god in the first place.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
      • Rick Perry

        Referring to "God" in the masculine is placing a limitation, is it not?

        November 22, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  52. Frank

    Man, I CAN'T BELIEVE how quickly you people turned on each other over a simple little story about space exploration! All I wanted to do was to point out a small error in this story. The author states "For the first time, NASA is going to Mars with its primary focus on finding evidence of life." This already happened back in the 70s with the Viking landers. OK, y'all can go back to hating each other now!

    November 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      I dont think the Viking Lander's primary focus was to try to find life, I think that was to basically study the surface and atmosphere with some life detecting experiments thrown in.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  53. Clinton Williams

    Seth Shostak needs kicking off this team and mad to resign because of his comment about life not being important.

    November 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • nostradoofus

      And you will be made king and decide who should and should not be on the team? Maybe he is right. In the entire scheme of things, maybe our life is not important. We've only been here a very short time on earth...and probably won't be here much longer. Time will continue without us. Get over yourself.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • barry

      Leave Seth alone he is one of the few here in america with a curious mind. Should you get fired from your job for saying life in not important ?

      November 26, 2011 at 12:03 am |
  54. ANGEL

    UMMM, How much this bullsh*t cost, and is there anything in this study that will help make things better for the Human Race RIGHT NOW??

    November 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • KK Denver

      Knowledge always makes thinks better never worse

      November 22, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
      • 11:11

        Pandoras box. Knowledge is dangerous if not tempered with wisdom.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
      • palintwit

        "Knowledge is good."

        November 22, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Right now? unlikely. The future? maybe.
      But then again, its not their job to find things to help mankind now. Its not their area of research.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Heman

      Hey ANGEL, your dumb a** wouldn't even by typing on a computer right now or using the internet if it weren't for similar funding and space research such as this in the very recent past. Go out and get your McDonalds and Starbucks, come back and watch the show, but do us a favor and don't speak unless spoken to. You'll embarass yourself less that way.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Sick

      Hey Angel, ever use velcro, braces for your teeth, scratch resistant lenses, shoe insoles, cordless powertools, water filters or any of the other 6000+ patents that NASA has filed for? If I were a betting man, I'd say yes to one or more.. and guess who developed them... NASA! Also if you're worried about the budget and using it towards the human race, look at other places. NASA has a drop in the bucket for our FY11 federal budget. Ass. Do your homework. NASA has given us soo much more than we've put into it. We should be spending more.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
      • George

        Your assertion seems to be that none of the items you mentioned would exist except for dint of NASA. Really? The argument was that the money could be better spent elsewhere; you weren't really answering her point. Petty name calling just kinda caps it off.

        November 22, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
      • Sick

        George no doubt that these products would be developed elsewhere but the mere fact that NASA's primary focus and mission is NOT developing these products rather exploring space and these were the outcomes of them is amazing. Money better spent elsewhere? I take it you read up on the FY11 budget right? No? Here educate yourself: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy11/index.html
        Ass. The money spend on NASA would do nothing for other projects. Learn before you speak.

        November 22, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
      • Sick

        Also to the in response to: "...and is there anything in this study that will help make things better for the Human Race RIGHT NOW??" – yeah, I'd say those things that NASA has patents for and some of those that I mentioned are helping them right now so I was right on point. Your argument is moot.

        November 22, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • MaybeAgnosticMaybeNot

      Article 1 Section 8 of The Constitution states Congress is "To promote the progress of science..."

      November 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Playjojo

      Face it, we've already destroyed this globe. We need to find another, fast, because this ones on it's way out.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
      • GatorALLin

        I would hope by the time we can easily populate other planets, we will have the technology to save this one.... (and the motivation)

        November 22, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Fermi?

      Don't you know how many everyday inventions came from the equipment used in space exploration?

      November 22, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  55. TiredODaCrap

    I love reading the "educated" responses on here. "There is no God, because I have no proog of Him". BUT...."There is other, intelligent life in space, we just haven't found proof, yet". Sounds like a rationalization of your point of view if I've heard one!!

    November 22, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Well unless they are claiming this intelligent life has magical powers and can operate outside of the universe then there actually isnt a comparison between the claims.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:57 am |
      • 11:11

        I believe it was Arthur C Clark that said any technology that we don't understand will be as magic.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
      • Cedar Rapids

        If a god needs to use technology to achieve its ends then it is not a god.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
      • 11:11

        The entire universe is alive and functions as such, just because you don't understand that, does not change the fact.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
      • Cedar Rapids

        The universe is alive huh? ok then

        November 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Punjab83

      Ha! That really does make sense. I am not being sarcastic when I say thank you for your post. Honestly :)

      November 22, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      It's an argument of probability. The probability of there being other life in our universe is very high. But the probability that there is a god is very low, the probability that god was made up by humans to make themselves feel better on the other hand is very high. We're just going with what makes the most logical sense.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:59 am |
      • Wen

        How did you calculate the probability of the existence of God, (god or gods)?

        November 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
      • Gob and Jeebus

        An invisible magic man in the sky? Not likely.

        December 6, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
      • barry

        Ya the believers keep on believen I just wish they would all go to the many religious sites on the net and preach their stupid trash to someone who gives a damn ! Why do they post on sites here ? I guess it will have to remain in the realm of mystery.

        December 7, 2011 at 3:55 am |
    • BR

      Get some rest, TIred, and think about your post. (BTW...beware...spelling and grammer n@zis are on their way to address your 'proog')

      It's extraordinarily simple. All humor aside, we know that intelligent life exists so it's natural to extrapolate that it can exist elsewhere in the universe.

      There is no compeling evidence for the existence of ANY deity so it is natural to dismiss those claims until that information changes.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
      • BeerBrewerDan

        *grammar
        *compelling

        November 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
      • BR

        Thar she blows. :-)

        November 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Biomedical Student

      While there is no strong proof of God, I am willing to change my atheist classification once proof is offered. The proof will obviously supercede and destroy any atheistic beliefs I have, once I recieve it.

      Given the billions of galaxies and billions of planets, the math simply pushes too strongly for life in the Universe in places besides Earth. Will we ever meet up with such life? Maybe... maybe not... I'm hoping so :)

      November 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Chach

      So we should bow to your "intellect" that claims that everything in the Bible is 100% accurate? From the same religion that burned people at the stake for practicing real science or jailing them for proving that the Earth is not the center of the universe? So let me ask, If the bible makes no mention or gives no explanation for things that science explains, does that mean that the science is wrong? It is, after all, just a "theory" that the Earth revolves around the Sun, just like it's a "theory" that water is comprised of H20. No one has ever observed an actual atom, and since the Bible gives no explantation for what the Universe is made of (atoms and molecules) then it can't be true. So basically if you are truly faithful, you must take the Bible word for word as God commands you to do, along with all of its countless inaccuracies and cotradictory stories and ignore science altogether. So that anything and everything that science has provided you must abandon and pray that it works out for you. For you there will be: No more doctors, no more cars, no more medicine, no more TV, grow your own food and so on and so on. You can't have it both ways and you can't believe only the parts of the Bible that you happen to agree with.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
      • barry

        I believe atoms are visible now with the correct device, yes no one has seen atoms directly on their own.

        November 27, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • Norm

      It's simple.
      If people reject the notion of God, they can live whatever sinful or deviant life they want to without fear of repercussions in the afterlife.
      Maybe God doesn't deem them worthy of His love so He hasn't introduced Himself to them.
      Poor things.
      Not much better than animals.
      They are to be pitied.....

      November 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
      • BR

        Being religious has never proven to be any sort of inoculant against sinning.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
      • Punjab83

        ...

        November 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
      • Humans=Animals

        Norm, all humans are animals.

        November 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
      • Fermi?

        By your logic then, becoming a priest should make you quite the sinless person. Too bad there is rampant child molestation among them huh? I pity your ignorance.

        November 22, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
      • barry

        Hey norm ! You are an animal a human animal. Have you checked you DNA lately ? its 98% or more the same as a chimp, we are all animals, your religious spew is discustiing.

        Why not go hang out with one of your catholic priest buddies and chase around little boys.

        November 25, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
      • Gob and Jeebus

        But if I believe in Jesus Christ, I can do whatever I want, ask for forgiveness, and *voila!* I'm A-OK!

        So tell me, why are so many atheists scientists (you know, the people trying to make the world a better place). Why aren't they filling up the prisons with their sinful behavior?

        December 6, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
      • Gob and Jeebus

        But if I believe in Jesus Christ, I can do whatever I want, ask for forgiveness, and *poof!* I'm A-OK!

        So tell me, why are so many atheists scientists (you know, the people trying to make the world a better place). Why aren't they filling up the prisons with their sinful behavior?

        December 6, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
      • Gob and Jeebus

        I know, I know.

        "Cool double post, bro."

        December 6, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  56. Punjab83

    I love articles like this one. These articles tend to fuel debates between the educated, and simple minded public. There is a very clean cut line separating the educated (science driven ideas) and the simple minded public (bible belt believers who think a zombie saved us all). On one side there are people who want answers, and have a clear mind to accept new ideas. And on the other side we have those who believe what a fairytale book tells them is THE WORD and no one should question it. If I was a betting man, I would put my money on the educated public. They seem to get more done in relation to everyday life.

    November 22, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Gary

      Amen! (pun intended)

      November 22, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • alpg49

      I'm a Catholic. We read Genesis as a book of ancient literature, not as literal truth. The distinction between me and the superstitious hillbilly you describe here is greater than you imagine, and the distinction between me and a scientist who happens to be an atheist is more elusive than you imagine.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:58 am |
      • fimeilleur

        So, let me get this straight... you pick and choose which books of the Bible should be taken litterally? Genesis = fiction, what about Leviticus? or Numbers? or Revelations? how about Luke? Matthew? John? Mark? Please tell us all which ones are fact, and which ones are fiction...

        I, for one, have never read an Encyclopedia that started off with a fictitious entry...

        November 23, 2011 at 6:02 am |
    • 11:11

      You accept the possibility of alien life yet denounce the possibility of a divine creator? In a universe of possibility, I find your closed mindedness to be in the category of not being one of the educated.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
      • Cedar Rapids

        Because one claim relies on natural processes, the other makes claims of magic using super beings.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
      • 11:11

        Quantum particles can be in two places at once. I see that as being "magical" in nature. But to me, every process in nature is "magic".

        November 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
      • Punjab83

        Read my post a little more thoroughly next time. I never "accepted the possibility of alien life" or "denounce the possibility of a divine creator". I simply stated there are those who accept new ideas, and those who base their knowledge off a book that was written thousands of years ago. I took more of a neutral stance on the subject as a whole. The only time I deviated from the my "Switzerland" position was when I suggested which I would place a bet on.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
      • Cedar Rapids

        You might find the effect to be a magical effect meaning pleasing or joyful but its not using magic to achieve the aim, thats a totally different concept.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
      • barry

        11:11 when you say creator you say divine, whats divine about a creator that created molesting catholic priests, diseases of which there are to many to list and so on and so on. If there is a creator he she it did a piss poor job on this planet, I guess it makes mistakes huh.

        November 26, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • Nicole

      I love you.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Mike

      I'm afraid that I must blur your "clean line". Let's start with something we can all agree upon: our knowledge is limited. That leaves open the possibility (and indeed, the necessity) of belief. Something as fundamental as the concept of "causation" is only a belief (see "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding", a very readable examination of some fundamental concepts). I expect that any scientist will agree that science is a system of theories, not facts. Additional data could turn up to challenge any given theory, even our cherished belief that the speed of light is "not just a good idea, it's the law". Similarly, people of religion will usually tell you that they are people who believe, and that belief is more important in religion than knowledge. If it were possible for us to know, absolutely, there would be no room for belief. Belief is, according to my belief, what God asks of us. Conflict arises when anyone claims to have knowledge which others MUST accept, whether they are scientists, people of faith, politicians, or salesmen. But belief enables us to function in a world which is beyond our knowledge. Humility is a good thing, I believe.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
      • Punjab83

        I enjoyed your post. I am always open to new ideas. Thank you.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        Mike, you are a dishonest little puke.

        "I expect that any scientist will agree that science is a system of theories, not facts."
        Yes a scientist would agree with you, but not for the reasons you're implying: A scientific theory comprises a collection of concepts, including abstractions of observable phenomena expressed as quantifiable properties, together with rules (called scientific laws) that express relationships between observations of such concepts. A scientific theory is constructed to conform to available empirical data about such observations, and is put forth as a principle or body of principles for explaining a class of phenomena. Not what you imply to be a "guess". A scientific fact is an OBSERVATION, not what you are implying (a truth).

        "Additional data could turn up to challenge any given theory, even our cherished belief that the speed of light is "not just a good idea, it's the law". That's what science does... a theory is held true until a new observation doesn't fit the theory, then a new theory is devised encompassing the new observation with all the others... it is now the best explanation for the observable phenomena.

        "Similarly, people of religion will usually tell you that they are people who believe, and that belief is more important in religion than knowledge. If it were possible for us to know, absolutely, there would be no room for belief. Belief is, according to my belief, what God asks of us." which god? Yaweh? Allah? Vishnu? Baal?

        "Conflict arises when anyone claims to have knowledge which others MUST accept, whether they are scientists, people of faith, politicians, or salesmen." No, conflict arises when evidence is presented that goes against someone's unfounded beliefs and his fealings are hurt so choses to ignore the evidence, frustrating the !@#$% out of people.

        "But belief enables us to function in a world which is beyond our knowledge." No, reality enables us to function in the world, and science allows us to gain the knowledge that is beyond our grasp today.

        November 23, 2011 at 6:21 am |
      • Mike

        fimeilleur,

        Do you think that name-calling strengthens your argument? That truth is determined by who can cast the foulest slurs? Does disagreeing with you necessarily indicate dishonesty, in your opinion? I can only conclude that rational discussion with you is not possible, unfortunately. I could have enjoyed an exchange of ideas with you, but now I will leave you to find the flaws in your post yourself. I recommend introspection, and review of your premises.

        Mike

        November 29, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Punjab83: It seems to be human nature to want to believe in something supernatural, something that transcends the known universe. Consider this: in all of recorded history, there are no nations with a majority of atheists. Consider also that societies have spent centuries, thousands of labor hours and gone to great expense to build magnificent cathedrals to honor their gods. Religion is inherently irrational, yet rational societies have kept it going, even into our century. Rationality will always be part of humanity, but religion probably will, too. Maybe somehow humans can sense the presence of a god in the universe. Maybe its just a flaw in the human genome. Either way, it's part of what defines our species.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
      • Punjab83

        That makes a lot of sense. Thank you.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • barry

      Logic,reason,common sense has been tried on the so called believers for years, it never works. We have to wait till they all die out, it will take time but its happening.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  57. MaybeAgnosticMaybeNot

    All theological debates can be boiled down to 2 possibilities:

    1. Stuff has just always existed.
    2. God has just existed and created stuff.

    According to Occam's razor "simpler explanations are, other things being equal, generally better than more complex ones." The first argument only makes one assertion, while the later makes two. Now this is no definitive it just means the first is more likely. But there is no way to know, nor any reason to assume either.

    November 22, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Heman

      Someone's been watching 'Contact' again.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:54 am |
      • KK Denver

        I would have expected a misspelling of "occam" if that was the case

        November 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
      • Sick

        If we're alone, it's an awful waste of space.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      1. Great handle "MaybeAgnosticMaybeNot"!
      2. Even religious people are truly agnostic. They don't know. They believe. But of course too many people ignore the difference between actual knowledge and a simple willingness to believe something that has no proof. The beauty of believing in a god that is invisible and intangible is that its existence cannot be proved or disproved. This has made many televangelists (and many churches) very wealthy.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  58. Mike

    I would point out that, all sarcasm aside, the irrefutable proof of intelligent life in the universe is before us ... in fact, it is us! We are actually looking for MORE intelligent life in the universe. The initial existence proof has been made.

    November 22, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  59. dale

    Its amazing to me that scientist attempt to put a number on the number of galaxzies in our universe. Are we to really believe that there is a distance from Earth where space ends or that matter ceases to exist? I dont think so. I believe that physical universe in unending and only God knows ALL the answers.

    November 22, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      but apparently he still needs people to mark doors so he knows where not to visit.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • qurgh

      You obviously don't understand how space works in the universe. There is no end of the universe, just as there is no end to the surface of the earth. If you keep going in one direction for long enough you'll end up back where you started. Scientists aren't putting a number on the number of galaxies in the universe, only the number of galaxies we can see from here (IE the number of galaxies in the known universe). Apparently you're not using the powerful mind your God gave you.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • Mike

      There is a logical argument which I find persuasive which concludes that the amount of matter in the universe is finite. The strength of gravitational attraction decreases proportionally to the distance between objects, but never goes to zero. If there were an infinite amount of matter in the universe, evenly distributed, then the gravitational pull in every direction would be equal. If it is not evenly distributed, then there would be an infinite gravitational pull in some direction. Infinity is a difficult concept.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Gary

      Ahhhh Dale, whats amazing to me is that people like you open your mouth. Scientist base their estimates off something you clearly know nothing about. Evidence. Faith begins precisely where thinking ends. Keep your ignorant thoughts to the faith page, please. Science, bless you.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  60. Ric

    There is no evidence that there is life out there. But I bet they will never find one in a milliion years,
    because the Bible revealed that we are unique in the universe and that life only exist in this beautiful earth and nowhere else.

    November 22, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Sarcasm right?

      November 22, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Jess

      IRic, if you believe what the Bible says, why are you even reading this article?

      November 22, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Howard

      There's a word for the kind of thinking that believes any super intelligence capable of creating the Universe would even bother to be concerned about insignificant beings on an insignificant planet in a not so significant galaxy in that Universe.

      The word is "arrogance."

      November 22, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • qurgh

      I wish I could see your face when they prove you wrong. Finding life in the universe, besides on this planet, will destroy the religious beliefs of millions (if not billions) of people who think they know everything about the universe because some book written over 2000 years ago tells them so.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:59 am |
      • Cedar Rapids

        Dont count on it, the pope has already started to edge his bets by claiming that life on other planets does not contradict their belief system.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
      • qurgh

        @Cedar: Yeah, but it's because he sees the catholic church is dieing and has to do something to attract people who aren't blind-faith followers. Most of the Christians in the USA are not catholic and don't follow the opinion of the pope. I want to see the faces of the people who visit the creationist museum; the ones that "know" that "God" "created" them and that he only "created" life here on this planet.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Sick

      It's easy being ignorant right Ric? It's easy to accept the totality of one book right? Doing math and science is hard so let's attribute it to some lines that one person said and not the collective wisdom of generations right? Ignorance is soo bliss.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • clearfog

      Did you say "bet?"

      November 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • barry

      Wow over and over it happens, people keep mentioning the bible here it gets so old. They must tire of reading the thing I know I did. I guess there are not any other religious books for them to read ? I bet not one of them has even read the entire bible. Please go and read your bible until you have it memorised word for word then you can become a preacher and get job at your local church.

      If you do happen to come accross some other article that has anything to do with science please keep the bible stuff to yourself. You are not likely to change anyone to your way of thinking here so please give it up, thankyou.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:44 am |
  61. match

    To say "god" is responsible for life and that's it is just narrow minded in my oppinion. To accept no other possibility than that I mean come on its just a simple possibility for simple people sorry to say but maybe a comment board for an article like this isn't for you

    November 22, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  62. The Universe

    All of you are complete idiots.

    November 22, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • rob

      +1

      November 22, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • The Multiverse

      Aww, Universe... Did Uranus get violated by yet another probe?

      November 22, 2011 at 11:31 am |
      • Al

        +2

        November 22, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • Cheese

      +3 internetz to you sir.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
  63. Rubyleaf

    After reading the comments I'm positive that if intelligent life exists it cant be found on earth.

    November 22, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • H Manuel Montes

      Now that I can agree with

      November 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  64. Al

    The stunning thing about all this research is that it is built on the faulty premise that "life just happens." There is no Creator God. Life is random and therefore "out there somewhere." This is idocy taken to its logical conclusion. It is tantamount to one looking at his wristwatch and saying "nobody made this...it just sort of happened when a bunch of metallic pieces suddenly flew together...and voila !

    November 22, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • rob

      Yeah I get mad every time I catch the flu, since it has to be a new version of the flu for me to catch it each time. I know it did not just "fly together", since it is increadibly complex, so somebody out there is purposely making these viri new every year.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • spacem

      Why wouldn't god create life on other planets? That kind of thinking is egotistical.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:32 am |
      • MsAttitude

        Good point. But the Bible doesn't say it happened.

        November 22, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • MsAttitude

      Yes, because someone who fails at spelling idiocy properly ought to be taken seriously.

      =) I'm glad you equate humans putting pieces of metal, glass, etc together to a higher being creating a universe. It's cute. And kind of furthers our point...

      Enjoy your closed-minded view of life.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Mike

      Hopefully, they visit and put you out of your misery . . .

      November 22, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • BR

      I like to call that the "The Gods Must Be Crazy" falacy. Wrist watches are not known to occur naturally...reproduce with change, etc. without direct manipulation by people. Life forms did it for billions of years before our arrogance sprang and will continue to do so long after we're gone. Plus...who created your creator?

      November 22, 2011 at 11:37 am |
      • MsAttitude

        :o

        How VERY chicken/egg of you!

        And, then...who created the one who created the creator!? Holy cow.

        November 22, 2011 at 11:49 am |
      • BR

        Precisely. An attempt to end infinite regression with a simple "God-did-it."

        November 22, 2011 at 11:51 am |
      • MsAttitude

        You've easily just become the hero of my day. <3 Thank you.

        November 22, 2011 at 11:55 am |
      • BR

        Awww...shucks.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
      • Billison

        I like to call that the "life occurs naturally" fallacy or "The Theory of Evolution is not a theory it's a fact" fallacy. Take your pick. ;)

        November 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
      • BR

        Billison – 150 years of peer reviewed scientific study on one hand...Snide and inappropriate use of the word falacy on the other.

        Hmmmmmm. Interpretation....."Nuh unh!"

        November 22, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
      • Billison

        150 years of peer reviewed scientific study and still it is a theory... hmmm wonder why??? Oh yeah no proof. :D

        November 22, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
      • BR

        Layman's understanding of the terms 'theory' and 'proof' followed up by a total lack of alternate explanation. Classic.

        November 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
      • Billison

        Mmmm circumstantial ad hominem... tasty ;) What alternate explanation do I need to provide? I am not the one talking like a theory is a proven fact. I am just pointing out nonsense.

        November 22, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
      • BR

        Pointing out that you misunderstand specific terminology as they apply to science is a simple observation...not a personal attack.

        Your "pointing out nonsense" amounts to fingers placed firmly in ears chanting "la la la la la la". Provide a coherent reason for your position. When your only method of refutation is tautology, any alternate explanation will do.

        November 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
      • Billison

        Coherent reason for my position... THERE IS NO PROOF. How many more times would you like me to repeat myself?

        November 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • DB Houston

      To paraphrase Rickey Gervais Thank God I'm an Athiest. This way my scientific mind is not cluttered with preconcieved notions about creationism. Look at the facts, not the myths that religion is based on.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • john

      No, science doesn't say that life just popped into existence, life is capable of forming through the evolutionary process of the Universe. Hydrogen collapses (in the early universe the era of ionization) creating behemoth stars, stars die and spread new elements like iron, calcium, and an entire table of elements that were born through this process of evolution. Now we have monkeys, who through trial and error have given birth to you and me. What a shame that consciousness is wasted in so many homo-sapiens.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:57 am |
      • Billison

        You have proved evolution is fact!!! Oh wait silly me I forgot it's still a THEORY. ;)

        November 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
      • BR

        Evidence of natural selection has been accumulating for over a century. Visit talkorigins.org for a primer before dismissing informed minds.

        November 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
      • Billison

        Evidence =/= proof. Sorry buddy. ;)

        November 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
      • BR

        ...again...educate yourself on scientific terminology. Evidence is cumulative...not an end. Evidence points to answers and cumulative evidence pointing to the same conclusion adds weight to the argument for that conclusion. There is no black or white "proof" as you seem to imply. Still waiting for anything constituting an intelligent counter argument rather than an impotent refutation.

        November 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
      • Billison

        Still no proof? If there isn't a way to prove something, then how come there are laws in science? Oh wait I get it you can prove something using factual evidence but you don't feel that evolution requires that. amirite?? :D

        November 22, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        @ billison,

        no, you're wrong. Open a science text book, and learn what scientists mean when they use the word Theory... it DOES NOT mean guess... then, learn what scientists mean when they use the word fact... it DOES NOT mean "truth", it means observation... next take a biology class and find JUST ONE THING that cannot be explained by evolution and publish your findings... survive the peer review process... and claim your nobel prize.

        Until then, keep your garbage off the science forum.

        November 23, 2011 at 7:02 am |
      • Billison

        One thing that has not been explained by evolution... the origin of life. How ironic... If your next response is "it has!!!!1!!one!!!!" Then provide me with proof. Oh wait there is none. :D

        November 23, 2011 at 11:26 am |
      • fimeilleur

        Billison,
        The theory of evolution DOES NOT predict the origines of life, it explains the DIVERSITY of life. If you can't understand this SIMPLE distinction, you have no business on a science blog. Learn what a theory ACTUALLY talks about before regurgitating something you heard from Kent Hovind, or Ray Comfort. You are beyond dishonest and willfully ignorant of the subjects you claim to not believe.

        November 23, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  65. citizenUSA

    If they're lucky, beings from other planets may be too smart to deal with earthlings.

    November 22, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  66. Fred English

    While this article had some very interesting information which is reasonably well presented, John Zarrella (or whomever does his proof-reading) needs a pointer or two.

    1. In the third paragraph, last sentence, the contraction form of the word "It's" is inappropriate. The word "it's" implies possession or some property applicable to the representative pronoun – which is not the case here. The correct wording would be 'It is ...'.

    2. In the third paragraph from the end, the author seems to be referencing fully-clothed telescopes, which apparently must be nude in order to work properly. I surmise that (it) would be a really tedious affair putting clothes on and taking them off of ground based telescopes, much less those out in space. Pbbbbbbttttt. I don't want that job!

    'Nough said.

    November 22, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • mobetta

      get a life...

      November 22, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Johnny Knowitall

      You used "whomever" improperly. If it's the subject of the clause, it's "whoever."

      November 22, 2011 at 11:22 am |
      • Heman

        Fred English was just handed his own a** on a platter, courtesy of Johnny Knowitall – and thus embarrasses himself in front of the entire lightyears community. Good stuff.

        November 22, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • grammar nazi

      1. It's is a contraction of it is, and as such is properly used here. The word you're thinking of is its.

      2. You are correct, it should read '...brought to bear...'

      3. If yore going two criticize, bee right moor than half the thyme.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:31 am |
      • Heman

        And thus, once again Fred English is humiliated in front of the scientific community. Ouch.

        November 22, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Tears for Beers

      Actually, "it's" does not designate possession at all. "It's" is the contraction of "it is."

      I love a grammarian who corrects, incorrectly.

      "Nuff 'nuff said.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:32 am |
      • Heman

        Ah yes, the grammarians – from the Alpha Centauri system if memory serves.

        November 22, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Fred English

      Cheers!

      1. Oops.

      2. Good way to raise a ruckus in short order, tho!

      November 22, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Ms. Correction

      Bare means brought into open view. Thus, you are wrong on both counts.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:57 am |
      • Heman

        Lol, poor Fred English. Give the ol' chap a break!!!

        November 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
      • grammar nazi

        You are correct in the definition of bare, but the idiom is, 'brought to bear', meaning a force brought on, e.g. My intellect is being brought to bear against your inept attempt at righteousness, thus in your enthusiasm to crash this party you are incorrect in your overall assertion. Next!

        November 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  67. LookAndSEE

    The world is looking for a leader. Satan is waiting for the right time to step in and disguise himself as Jesus.
    The Bible says he will do miracles that will convince the biggest skeptic. Then he will demand the planet's submission.
    All we need is a huge disaster ( i mean a mega one) that will bring the planet to it's knees.
    The real Jesus will return at the right time!

    November 22, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      anyway, back in the real world.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:47 am |
      • qurgh

        LOL. I think the OP was the plot to a movie I saw once...

        November 22, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • MsAttitude

      =) Gee, imagine that...another Christian wishing destruction and devastation upon everyone to further their cause.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • barry

      lookandsee let me guess you just finished reading the STAND by king right ? Ok now read the tommy knockers and you will understand this a little more.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:55 am |
  68. Bob

    Easier to find a sign of life in outer space than at the Republican debates.

    November 22, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  69. aMom

    People can't even agree that life begins at conception or that a baby in the womb is a human being. Why are they looking to other planets?

    November 22, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Heman

      Who gives a cr*p what people agree upon... We are looking for life on other planets to discover our own origins, expand our knowledge and technology, give meaning to life, explore the universe, and contribute to our species and civilization as a whole. But I guess these paltry little details are meaningless to you birthers, right?

      November 22, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Pepinium

      aMom, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume your radical lobotomy was a surgical mistake , and thus, unplanned.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • BR

      aMom – Nice how you slipped in the asertion "that life begins...". Preconception much?

      As to your question, that's the kind of thinking that berates a police officer for giving you a speeding ticket when there are murderers out there.

      Pepinium – I disagree. Thinking like this is frequently the result of deliberate mind numbing. ;-)

      November 22, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Howard

      aMom, here's a daunting thought. What if the search for extraterrestrial life eventually discovers some ... and it has the same DNA sequences found in all the life on Earth? Boy, wouldn't blow your itty-bitty mind.

      Watch out! Because the best candidate for that possibility is just next door ... Mars!

      November 22, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Gob and Jeebus

      How is a 90-celled zygote a human being?

      And you know at least a third of pregnancies abort naturally, right?

      I'm not saying that, say, a 6-month-old fetus is just like your appendix or something, but this "life begins at the moment of conception" nonsense is ridiculous.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
      • barry

        Any person who thinks life begins at conception is plain ignorant , they have no clue as to what spew is coming out of their mouths. For example lets take a look at a womens egg it is a small mass of cells and then lets take a single sperm its to small to see, put the sperm in the egg now what do you have ? is it human NO does it think NO , so if it does not think can it know it is being aborted ? NO !! now let it sit in the womb for a few months what do we have ? we have some more cells, do the cells think for themselves ? NO they do not. Its when a women is 4 or more months along that it should become an issue for some.

        December 7, 2011 at 3:30 am |
      • Junius Gallio

        >Any person who thinks life begins at conception is plain ignorant

        Actually, life DOES begin at conception–a zygote is alive. The issue is when _personhood_ is established.

        December 7, 2011 at 8:45 am |
      • barry

        Yes I know but really it confuses the stupid telling them its alive, an earth worm is alive and I put them on hooks I feel bad about it but hell I like to fish. The right to lifers are a bunch of well I wont go to name calling but they are ignorant of things. My mom worked as a nurse in an abortion clinic and she has told me all about it, it is not as if they are killing a thinking being. Take a look at china and see how many abortions are done there, I totally agree with them I mean I understand what happens from overpopulation and its a thing no one wants to face or go through.

        In china many years ago there were millions who died from starvation, we are now at 7 billion people on earth and its getting a little crowded. What is it going to be like when we are at 14 billion ? Are we going to do anything to stop the 14 billion that are surely coming ? I doubt it very much, I truley believe that overpopulation will be our demise. I can just imagine the wars and famine caused from over population and I know because of stupid people it will surely happen.

        December 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
      • Junius Gallio

        >really it confuses the stupid

        Barry, if you want to be taken seriously, the first thing you need to do is drop the insults–even if those you disagree with use them. Heck, I'm not particularly religious, and definitely not Judeo-Christian, and at this point I truly wish you were arguing for religion–your invective-filled statements do far more to detract from our side of the argument than they do to refute statements that you disagree with.

        Dropping the insults does not automatically guarantee you'll be taken seriously, but it is a good first step.

        December 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  70. livens

    I vote we (USA) pull out of our overseas operations and focus on defending ourselves at the border. We can institute pinpoint attacks to handle terrorists attacking us directly. Then we can free up a large chunk of the 100's of Billions wasted over there for research like this. We accomplish nothing fighting wars in countries that want nothing to do with us or Democracy. Reply if you agree!

    November 22, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Heman

      Completely agree and have been spouting this for years. Pull ALL troops back, secure OUR own borders from not only terrorism, but illegal immigration, etc. Continue in trade agreements, but bring the jobs back, manufacturing back, and just all around focus more on US as opposed to the whole damn world who hates us. This frees up billions if not trillions of dollars. And I agree, invest in some infrastructure and more importantly SCIENCE and SPACE research.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Pepinium

      livens, you are the classic isolationist who actually believes we can maintain our standard of living and way of live by retreating from the world. Get this through your head: We have to protect our trade routes, markets, and access to the world resources and that is the reason we are deployed all over the world. The whole spreading of Democracy thing is a nice ruse but the truth is, our military might protects your ability to live the way you do !!! Believing that we can just retreat behind our gates and let the rest of the world go to hell is a telltale sign of ignorance. Instead of wasting your time posting here, go read a few books and visit a few places out there!!!

      November 22, 2011 at 11:57 am |
      • livens

        Who said anything about isolationism? We can work with other countries without invading them cant we? Have you actually seen what goes on over there? IED's planted everywhere killing us AND the locals. Thats what most of the war over there is about, avoiding/finding IED's. But the IED's are being used because we are there...

        And WE left them without a government? THEY let there government fall apart! We owe them nothing.

        November 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • MsAttitude

      The problem is, we caused a lack of government ability to handle things. IF we leave now, they will only hate us further for wrecking their lives, and then walking away instead of rebuilding it.

      Just sayin'. Otherwise I'd agree.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
      • CP in FL

        I love when people include "just sayin" in their post, as if it makes them look more intelligent. What does that even mean?

        November 22, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • barry

      I agree its time to leave for we are not at war witth anyone, we are fighting a few in a large country. One cannot win a so called war as in afghanistan or iraq or vietnam, to win a war it has to be fought as in world war 2 with all out cruelty one has to bomb and kill civilians until they all give up. then accupy as we did in germany and japan.

      Some say we can never change those people and they are right not the way we are fighting them now, war can it seems change a society we did it in japan and germany but look at what that took.

      Unless one fights a real war in all its horror then dont do it at all, look at what nam got us ? those guys were not allowed to fight as we did in WW2.

      Isnt this way off the subject ?

      November 26, 2011 at 1:21 am |
  71. Heman

    Where do I sign up for my taxpayer dollars to be used on NASA funding, as opposed to going towards career Welfare recipients, lining the coffers of our sleazy politicians, paying off big oil, or used in a meaningless "war" in Afghanistan?

    November 22, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Yes

      How do you think you have the technology to type stupid comments on this screen? HMMMM it makes me so angry that people belive that NASA is just wasting money. Here's an Idea, go on google type in "NASA's Innovation in your life" it might give you a clue how important NASA really is.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:30 am |
      • Heman

        Hey BONEHEAD, I am agreeing with you and these sentiments! You obviously didn't read my post correctly. No worries.

        November 22, 2011 at 11:44 am |
      • Sick

        Fail.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  72. palintwit

    The Sarah Palin Galactic Observatory has discovered life in another galaxy. It appears to be a planet inhabited entirely by teabaggers, as evidenced by their ridiculous clothing, lack of teeth and abnormal preoccupation with boinking their cousins and watching nascar.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Josh

      This article has nothing to do with politics and yet for some reason you being the dbag that you are had to bring it up.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Robert

      Why don't you spend your time on more creative endeavors, dimwit.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:14 am |
      • Punjab83

        "Dimwit" bahahaha! I haven't seen that typed in a long time. Nice usage!

        November 22, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • R. U. Sirius

      Rolling on the floor laughing my as off

      November 22, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • OUTTHERE

      Duh I can see Jupiter from my back porch ... no wait that's russia isn't it

      November 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  73. TR in ATL

    SETI is interesting, and I don't mind my tax dollars being spent in that way. Unfortunately, the SETI scientists have missed it all. The story called it "mind-blowing grandeur". Trillions of galaxies!!! How did it all get there? I'm glad you asked. In the beginning, GOD! GOD demonstrates his grandeur so clearly and yet, many still won't take time to read his Word to get to know Him. He is an awesome GOD, He loves you, and He wants to know you.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Bageldog

      Do you have any clue how unconvincing "god did it" is to an atheist?

      November 22, 2011 at 10:55 am |
      • LookAndSEE

        Then how did it happen?

        November 22, 2011 at 11:06 am |
      • AmitG

        ...or to an educated believer. Science and religion are not in conflict, until ignorants like TR try to make one trounce upon the other's field.

        November 22, 2011 at 11:15 am |
      • sharoom

        That's the whole point! Scientists are trying to find out through evidence. Saying "God did it" is the stupid way out.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • jim

      He is awesome. And He cant be like anything we can even begin to understand. Because somewhere along the line, we have to accept the notion that something came from nothing, be that the matter in the Universe, or God, or whatever you choose to call it. but one way or another we have the brains to be able to explore this stuff, and the curiosity and drive to do it. So lets do it.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Knows Better

      In the beginning man made god in his imagination

      November 22, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • John

      If God is all powerful and all knowing then he should already know me...

      November 22, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • Spawn

      :p I dont care who DID IT, or how the other planets out there GOT THERE, be it god or a 'big bang'. What matters is that these planets ARE out there, and I cant wait until we can even glimpse them, I just hope Im alive for it!

      November 22, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Zoroheysus

      The muslims are not the chosen, nor are the christians, or even the jews. This story has been told before, and again probably before that. Religion is pretty much meaningless these days. Rather than creating a unity for mankind it is used as a tool for being judgmental and hate. Countless wars have been fought in the name of your "god" and prophets. If there is a "god" it is either dead, sleeping, or could care less about it's so called "creations".

      Most christians believe they are so educated, but they can't see that there was a monotheistic faith that was created long before their own, in the same region, and telling a lot of the same stories. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroastrianism

      November 22, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Howard

      "God" is just a simple explanation for the truly simple-minded who are unable to think outside the lines, or just too afraid.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Dan

      Religion has held back science for generations and has been exploited to subjugate women, lower classes, and anyone different. It should have the same weight in scientific discussion as the tooth fairy in tooth decay. Please go to the Christian Match site in the future and leave the discussion of science to those grounded in a non-mythical reality.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Sick

      God made me an atheist, how dare you question Him!

      November 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • barry

      Tr atl you are a not case really, wow! why dont you try and write fantasy ? God wants to know me you say ? well it your god is real why does he it she not already know me ??

      December 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  74. its me

    Really? Every video on your site is preceded by an ad. What ever happened to journalistic integrity over the thirst for an advertising dollar? Is this the dream that Ted Turner had? You should be ashamed. I will get my news from other sources from now on.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Heman

      Lol, agree with you. But you know you'll be back. Unfortunately I will as well.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  75. crabman

    we should search for life in D C that would be a real find

    November 22, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Heman

      GOOD ONE!! Haven't hear that before!

      November 22, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Xman

      There's life in DC alright, but intelligent, no. Leeches, parasites, yes.

      November 22, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  76. Xman

    I believe in two things. First, no, I don't think we're alone. We are here, and the fact there are 200+ billion stars in the Milky Way alone is reason enough to conclude that somewhere there is life. Second, and most importantly, if an advanced alien race ever did visit earth, they'd either be friendly or hostile. If they're hostile, it wouldn't matter what we did, we'd be toast. If they're friendly, I'd be one embarrassed member of the human race. This alien race would undoubtedly be advanced not only in terms of technology to be able to reach us, but also socially. Far more than we humans. But they'd soon (or already) know that humans have failed miserably to get along, and thus, to progress socially. The impact of this reaches much further than you'd imagine. And because of this, I'd expect this alien race to either incinerate us for being unworthy of inhabiting such a rare gem in the cosmos (Earth) or, if they were nice, to give us some time to unscrew ourselves and get our crap straight (socially, economically, technologically). Anyway you look at it, I think humans have shown the cosmic community we deserve little in the way of sympathy because we've chosen to act the ways in which we do today. That isn't to say there aren't many good among us, because there are. But collectively, we seem more interested in killing one another, trashing the planet, and basically being the unwanted dinner guest that won't go away. If I were an alien visiting Earth for the first time, I wouldn't be impressed much.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Heman

      Completely agree with everything you said except for one thing, we are in no way a "rare gem in the cosmos (Earth)". There are likely hundreds of thousands, if not millions of other planets exactly like ours. Hardly rare, especially for an advanced civilization capable of intergalactic travel. A species with that technology certain would have the means of harvesting, if not inhabiting any other closer rock of their choosing, or altering it to be habitable.

      November 22, 2011 at 10:56 am |
      • Xman

        Rarity is not a matter of technology, it is a matter of occurrence or presence, at least to me. We can't simply build a ship and migrate the human species to another hospitable planet. Why? Because we don't know of any others. This is our only home. Even when we finally find another planet, I believe we will do so long before we have the technology to be able to get humans successfully there. We can see far more distant back in time than current tech allows us to physically travel, so no, I believe our planet, our only viable location in the known cosmos today where we can survive to be an exceedingly rare planet. To date, it is the only one we know of.

        November 22, 2011 at 11:28 am |
      • Heman

        Different perspectives my friend. I was speaking on behalf of your proposed "advanced aliens" that if have in fact found us, have likely found thousands of others just like us. You were speaking on behalf of 'Earthlings", which by all accounts we would be rare. See?

        November 22, 2011 at 11:43 am |
      • Xman

        Yep, as advanced as the alien race would be, perhaps they'd know of their neighbors, and they wouldn't feel anywhere near as isolated as we do on Earth today. Then again, they could come tomorrow, and we might learn that we are the only ones they've come across. The Universe as we see it today is so big, we don't yet have the vocabulary to grasp how big. But from what we know, I'd wager Earth is a rare gem to any species.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
      • Heman

        "But from what we know, I'd wager Earth is a rare gem to any species." Well Xman, we know virtually nothing. Not even a fraction of a fraction of a percent about the cosmos. So I once again have to disagree with you. If we did know more, I think you'd find that we are no where near a rare gem.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
      • Xman

        Alright, so let's talk about what makes rare stuff here on earth, rare. There's only been around 225,000 tons of gold mined on the earth total, in our history. Don't ask how I remember that nugget (pun there lol), I just do. That makes for some pretty expensive stuff, yea? Why? Because for X tons of earth mined, you get so little gold. Now, what about coal, or oil? There's a LOT more of the stuff on earth, so its price, its perceived rarity, for equivalent volumes, is much different. So, gold, per ounce, is expensive, as are diamonds for the same reason. Now apply that principle to Earth, and the universe as we know it today. Most of the universe is theoretically useless, resource-less space. There's nothing there anyone can do anything with. Your travelling in your ship, and it doesn't matter really where in the universe you are, how likely do you think (given any random trajectory) you will bump into a planet with a livable atmosphere, rich in mineral resources, with intelligent life, abundant water, and etc? You may bump into planets, rocks, a quasar there and there, but nothing quite like the Earth. That, simply, makes Earth a rare gem, and to me, it doesn't matter what species you are, ET or not. Had the solar system or even the observable space contain 10, 100 more Earths, then perception changes, but alas, we've proven to be able to see VERY far and have found how many other Earths like ours, or even close to ours (again, considering volume)? Zero. Now, it is possible than alien race as advanced as one capable to reach us has no interest in Earth or any of its contents. That's certainly possible. But by our definition of "rare" you can't possible expect even an alien to say, "well, yea, I see what you mean, but over in our corner of the galaxy, we have 1000 Earths like yours, there just doesn't happen to be many in YOUR (human) neck of the woods". Highly unlikely given the patterns science and astronomy have presented to us humans so far. Possible, yes, probable? Not to me.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • jim

      Everything you say is true, but you have to remember one thing.Just over 100 years ago most respected scientists thought human flight (let alone space travel) was impossible, electricity was a brand new wonder, and we werent even aware of the existance of DNA, ultraviolet radiation, etc etc etc.
      Te point I am making is that we have come an enormous distance in the last 150 years, which is less than a blink of an eye in terms of cosmic timescales. We are very very much in our infancy as a species. Any race that has been around long enough to master inerstellar travel and visit us would know this, and would no doubt have gone through thier infancy as well. Dont be so harsh on our embryonic species- we could go a long way yet.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:08 am |
      • Heman

        Too bad none of us will be around to see it, or will we...........?

        November 22, 2011 at 11:09 am |
      • Xman

        Yes, we've made enormous strides in the past 150 years. Then again, at the pace of the Mercury and Apollo space programs in the 60s, we were estimated to have had man on Mars by 1983. Why didn't that happen? Politics? Technological hurdles? I know we have the tech to get man to Mars in 7-8 months, but we haven't solved the psychological issues that arise when you put a couple of people in a tin can for that time period without going bonkers. Amazing, yes, but true. We still can't explain the developmental changes in the adolescent brain. We still lose so many to cancer, malaria, even diarrhea. The human race still struggles with feeding the hundreds of millions on the planet. Yea, Intel seems to be exceeding even Moore's Law when it comes to advanced computer tech, but we also can't figure out how to cure the common cold or how to prevent wars from killing and displacing millions every year.

        November 22, 2011 at 11:44 am |
      • barry

        I am replying to the post obove jim, the post said we have not found another planet like earth yet and likely neve will, You are not reading enough astronomy, We have just began looking for other earths, a few years ago, come on give it some time ! We still at this time do not even have the ability to see other earths if they were out there. Scientists want to build the things that would allow us to find them.

        As with the planet finder, it would allow us to actually see the atmospheres around other planets many light years away, we have nothing now that could come close to the terrestial planet finder, and untill we do it is unlikely we will be finding any other planets like ours. It all comes down to cost, very few of our public have the desire or the curiosity to spend the cash on things they likely care nothing about.

        If there were more people with the curiosity I have we would have the answer much sooner, spend the money and you may find it, dont look and you will never know.

        November 26, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • Neil

      I find the assumption that because they would be advanced in a Tech sense that they would also be advanced socially to be a bit of a stretch. Why would that have to be true? How do you measure socially advanced? Some Roddenberry ideal? Why is that the "advanced" standard? By who's definition? We advance, are advancing very fast and some would say we are socially sliding backwards.

      Pure nonsense idealism.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:26 am |
      • Xman

        Nonsense idealism? Really? Perhaps if you don't see the relationships between social and technological advancement, then perhaps. But I see very strong correlations. On a simple level, compare the cultures between the United States and N. Korea, or even just the Korean peninsula itself. It is because of the society that existed in the US during the 60s that rallied behind the notion of landing man on the moon by decade's end that I think was largely the reason we DID land guys on the moon in 69. The US Space Program was motivated socially to a goal, and from that effort came the technology to do what we said we'd do. That's huge to me. If society wishes to advance in medicine or astronomy, or manufacturing, we do. It's our American culture that led to these advancements but at the heart of it was a system of beliefs that in order to progress, we need first to plant the will to do so. Our culture and our will to accomplish is very much tied to our future and our discovery of technology that allows that was impossible to be possible. If done not for profit but for advancing human understanding of our existence, then one could argue technology becomes the tool we use for that advancement. How could that not be related to who we are as a society?

        November 22, 2011 at 11:38 am |
      • Xman

        Neil – Ill make a second point, as I don't think I directly addressed in the first. I think any alien race that has reached us using advanced tech (which they would HAVE to have in the first place since we've failed to find any local rocks that can sustain life, let alone intelligent, advanced life) capable of incredibly fast interstellar travel. Remember how much of the cosmos is empty space, right? Well, I think that in order to achieve such technology, its society would basically have to know how to come together to develop such tech. If humans can show short-lived bursts that resemble how society can achieve incredible feats in short time frames (i.e. 60s), then an alien race that can best our tech to be able to reach us would have to achieve results on many orders of magnitude higher than we are or have accomplished in our history. Do you have any idea what tech is needed for interstellar travel? Do you know how mind-boggingly enormous the distances between cosmic objects, in any scale, are? Lastly, do you think a trailer-park equivelant alien culture (society) would be the ones with tech capable of reaching Earth or would you think it would be a species advanced not only in terms of the craft they used to get here, but also advanced in terms of their culture back home? C'mon.

        November 22, 2011 at 11:52 am |
      • Neil

        XMAN – Two points and a comment
        First the comment – I am NOT saying that whoever should arrive here would not be technologically advanced – that is a given – they would have to be far more advanced than we currently are simply to get here.

        Point One – Your first point is really talking about political will, led by a dynamic leader with clear goals. A short term one at that – clearly visible in both a political and social sense – lets also not forget that it was mainly in response to an “aggressive” act by a foreign power – direct competition – that seems pretty enlightened. Most of our advances have come is some form of competition – economic, political and militaristic.

        Point Two – You are thinking in terms of human society. How would we get along on such a long trip? How would we function as unit without tearing ourselves apart? Imagine a species with a Pack type of society – Alpha rules and all that – would you define that as advanced? I could see that type of social unit having success – particularly if you throw in the possibility of much longer life spans than we have. What about some sort of Hive type of species? Again – not our type of “society” – possibly complete with “drones”, “warriors”, etc, where a single mind runs it all. My point was more about our egocentric way of looking at things – we may be the exception, or the rule, who knows?
        Again you are defining “advanced” via our point of view alone.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  77. palintwit

    Here at the Sarah Palin Galactic Observatory we are constantly searching for new life forms. If Bristol gets pregnant again that would count as a life form.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Heman

      So does that shriveled little thing dangling between your legs, but who are we to judge?

      November 22, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  78. douglasjames

    Well, life is here and we do not know how to deal with what we have, and when we get to the other side of this life and move on maybe we might find something quite pleasing. Save the money and pay off the 14 trillion debt.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Alex

      you sir, are ignorant typing that on your computer via an internet connection

      November 22, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  79. realist

    Alien life is already here...I don't need NASA to tell me what I should know and what I shouldn't.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • crabman

      so true just look at Washington plenty of strange life forms

      November 22, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  80. atypical

    we aren't alone . . .in the universe–the multiverse, but I seriously doubt that there many life forms out there wanting to befriend us anytime soon. they're waiting till we work through our issues of humanity.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  81. Andrew

    It's always been interesting to me that our main focus of the search for extraterrestrial life is on planets located in the habitable zone. Why do we have such a narrow view of life? There's no reason for us to doubt that life (perhaps even intelligent life) could possibly exist in the extremes. If there are 100 billion planets in just what we can observe right now, it is conceivable that somewhere in this huge universe that life has found a way to exist in the extreme environments. Just because we have not yet observed it does not mean it is not possible. I hope we find life out there.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • logic

      it's not a narrow view...it's called statistics

      life forming is likely a rare occurrence, and as such, it's wise to proceed looking at the planets with statistically the best habitat for life – water, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, etc

      looking around on super hot planets, gas giants, etc is a waste of the limited resources our space exploration programs have

      come on kid, think...

      November 22, 2011 at 10:30 am |
      • StarChild

        Isn't it rather silly of us to assume that what qualifies as "habitable" for us is the same throughout the multiverse? Sure, on this planet we need water, oxygen, carbon dioxide and so forth. But other beings may not need any of the elements common to us at all. In fact, their life could be comprised of elements alien altogether to us. So using what is familiar to us in the search for life, is indeed narrow minded if we do not expand beyond that.

        November 22, 2011 at 10:42 am |
      • Bageldog

        @Starchild, until we have any sort of proof of a 'multiverse', I think we should focus on things in our universe. And there are no 'alien elements' in our universe. What we have in the Milky Way Galaxy is the same stuff they have in the Andromeda Galaxy, and every other one.

        November 22, 2011 at 10:50 am |
      • Andrew

        Nowhere did I mention that I thought we should divert our resources to explore non-habitable zone planets. I was simply expressing my opinion on the fact that nearly everything I have read and heard from scientists limits life to the habitable zone. When we find life, I'm sure it will be in the habitable zone, because, as you said, statistically it is more likely from our current knowledge of life that it will most likely form there.

        Also of note, I am not a "kid". Thanks for the big assumption there.

        November 22, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • BR

      If you're looking for your keys, you don't begin looking in a place where you have no way of knowing "if" they could be there, even though they theoretically "could" be there.

      Life exists here...solipsism aside that is a simple fact. We know what constitutes the conditions for life to exist here. It would be unconscionably presumptuous, not to mention wasteful, to shoot blindly to the unfathomable reaches of space to try to find life where it "might" exist.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  82. junius gallio

    I do have to admit a bit of disappointment–we will probably confirm or refute the possibility of life on Mars within my lifetime, but even if tomorrow we verified the existence of extra-solar life. I would be long gone before we could get any hard data. Even if we had a modern-day Queen Isabella to fund such a mission, I'd be long dead before we got any info.

    Ah, well–one takes what one gets, and even though it would be terrific to be alive if (when>) we find extra-solar life, it's still a great time to be alive.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Mark Thomas

      Yes, I sometimes feel the same way but it is not so bad being resigned to just focusing on the excitement of the discovery process

      November 22, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Dan

      Like Carl Sagan, won't know until I get there, if there is anywhere. Could be the best ride yet. But I share your angst and would like to hang out for a lot longer.

      November 22, 2011 at 10:28 am |
      • Mark Thomas

        Even in the worst case scenario where there is not anywhere to go and death is simple transition into non-existence then at least you won't even know because you won't exist anymore to feel things like angst...

        November 22, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Leprakawn

      Oh, have no worries as December 21, 2012, is right around the corner. Nobody will be around after that. ;)

      November 22, 2011 at 10:46 am |
      • Kevin

        I'm curious why you say this?

        Because it's a lie, you know.

        November 22, 2011 at 11:52 am |
      • Leprakawn

        A lie, 'eh? I would not really consider it a lie. It was their belief found on some weird principal that this world will go *poof* on that date. Perhaps if they had just gotten a bigger circle tablet, it would have gone to the year August 17, 2075 instead.

        Speaking of failed prophecies, take a look at these sites!

        http://www.randi.org/encyclopedia/appendix3.html
        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2056215/Doomsday-prophet-Harold-Camping-resigns-apologises-failed-predictions-months.html

        November 23, 2011 at 1:07 am |
      • Leprakawn

        *principle, not principal. My bad.
        And if I want to go overboard, "...the year August 17, 2075, instead."

        November 23, 2011 at 1:10 am |
  83. Dan

    Wish we as humans came to the realization of how delicate and precarious life is on this little blue dot we call Earth. Like the early explorers, we will discover that the Universe (known) is teaming with life in forms and variety not yet imagined. I believe that in my life time we will determine that planets are the norm and that there are far more of them than there are stars. I love looking up (really out) on a clear night and wondering about the possibilities. Exciting time to live but the best is yet to come.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Heman

      Um, Dan...we have already determined that "planets are the norm" whatever that means – and that there are certainly far more of them than there are stars.

      November 22, 2011 at 10:32 am |
      • Dan

        Heman,

        I understand the supposition, however, the message has only been received by the 13 people not locked into reality television and their Facebook accounts.

        November 22, 2011 at 10:35 am |
      • Heman

        I hear you Dan...

        November 22, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • barry

      I to look at the night sky with a sense of wonder, I wish I could see it as it looks with no light polution. There are very few places left on earth where one can see the night sky as it looked before the use of electricity. I look up in wonder thinking if there is any being looking up thinking the same as I .

      November 27, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  84. NASAl

    Every day, NASA pours out press releases with fascinating, sometimes groundbreaking revelations. NASA should focus on science rigor rather than press releases. Major gaffes include description of microbes from Mars that turned out to be microsphericals of geological origin. More recently NASA study on bacteria from Lake Mono, CA, purported to re-define chemistry of life by substituting cyanide for phosphorus in DNA. Cosy relations with journal SCIENCE got these spurious findings featured prominently. Stop the focus on press releases, and get it right!

    November 22, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • JjohnR

      Good post!!

      November 22, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • dcol

      That is how they get funding. At least we know what they are doing. If they didn't you would be complaining "What the heck do they actually do over there"

      November 22, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • NASAl

      dcol, They get funded by generating slop science and promulgating it... and you think this is fine!

      November 22, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Dan

      I agree that exacting science should trump press releases and politics. Unfortunately, it is a game that sometimes must be played for funding. Given Americans lust for reality television and low educational standards it is an understandable result.

      November 22, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Heman

      NASAI, agreed on the 'microbes from Mars', but are you suggesting their DNA chemistry discoveries are a "gaffe"?

      November 22, 2011 at 10:36 am |
      • NASAl

        It has been widely impugned. Check SCIENCE issue. The fantastic idea is indefensible = gaffe

        November 22, 2011 at 11:02 am |
      • Heman

        I'll have to check up on it...hadn't seen anything about it in a while.

        November 22, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  85. pragmatist85

    At a time when America is trillions of dollars in debt it is totally irresponsible to be wasting taxpayer money looking for evidence of life elsewhere. We can't even find life in the US Congress, let alone intelligent life!!

    November 22, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • EJ

      It is easy to say no. I guess you have no desire to know what is out there . However life is important and spending money on the search for life is not a waste. What is a waste is denying reality.

      November 22, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • FRIEND

      haha oh man that's so witty!

      November 22, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Heman

      pragmatist85, haven't heard that joke a million times... Anyway your sentiments are what kills the enjoyment in life. Countries, money, politics.....people..., all of it is temporary. Why can't you see the big picture that there is more to life than your own fear, government, and personal enslavement.

      November 22, 2011 at 10:41 am |
      • Dan

        Amen!

        November 22, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Martti

      The budget to air-condition the tents in Iraq is larger than the entire NASA budget. If you want to cut spending, look elsewhere than NASA.

      November 22, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Alex

      And what portion of our budget do we spend on space exploration? I bet its a tiny fraction of what is spent on overpaying no bid contractors.. If everyone thought like you buddy we'd still be hunting and gathering.. hell why not invest in this new spear instead of planting these seeds which might take a whole season to grow?

      November 22, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Sick

      Do your homework. The FY11 budget for NASA is so small, it's a joke. We should be funding it more. For what we spend on it to the amount of stuff that comes out of it, it's amazing. No NASA? No velcro, no water purifiers, no trash compactors, ... [too many to name]. Talk about waste? Look elsewhere. If you call yourself a pragmatic, do your homework first and read and examine the federal budget. Stop blaming successful departments.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • barry

      In debt yes we are, is it because we spend to much money on scientific endeavors ? You know the answer to that its a definite NO ! What we need in our government is not just a change of people running it but a change in the type of people running it. I think what we need is people who actually care and people who have some education in somthing other than a law degree. Lets put some scientists in charge for once, instead of what we have now and that is just plain ignorance. The people elected now seem to be there for their ability to argue the best or lie the best when what we really need is people who have high I-Qs and lots of knowledge. The fact is we dont spend near enough on our space program or our scientific research. Why dont all you people against learning new things go back to the 16th century and let the church run your lives, then you can do good things again and lock up all those Galileo types.

      please pardon my crappy grammer, that will save some room here for those of you who will mention it, thanks.

      November 24, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • barry

      pragmatist, good point about congress but the budget for NASA has had nothing to do with our national debt.

      November 25, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
  86. tracie

    oh, and I'm a total skank.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • SkanksRUs

      If I were you I'd think of myself as more of a cum dumpster.

      November 22, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  87. Louis

    The search for "life" is one thing, the search for "intelligent life" is another; though we view the former on a daily basis, we have yet to discover the latter even on our planet Earth.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • poktote267

      that includes you retard!

      November 22, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  88. k

    Well there is no intelligent life in America so guess it makes sence we look for it elsewhere...

    November 22, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • hilarious

      that is the funniest joke i've ever heard!!
      you should write jokes!

      November 22, 2011 at 10:32 am |
      • Heman

        It's only been repeated 861,552 times. But for some reason this one time it was really, really funny, I agree!

        November 22, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • JohnnyDH

      Well, it's actually spelled "sense" but I guess you were proving your own point.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Kenneth

      Lol.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  89. tracie

    Firsty!

    November 22, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • "1"

      Loser

      November 22, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • junius gallio

      First is amusing–relevant is better.

      November 22, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Grothnar, Troll King

      NO, THIS MY SPOT..... GRRRRR, ME SMASH YOU NOW, SMASHY<< SMASHY!!!!!!!!

      November 22, 2011 at 10:46 am |

Contributors

  • Elizabeth LandauElizabeth Landau
    Writer/Producer
  • Sophia DengoSophia Dengo
    Senior Designer