What are your opinions on the possibility of a silicon based organism or life form?
Boltzmann said:Have you been watching the Star Trek episode “Devil in the Dark”? The Horta is the creature featured in this episode, and it’s a silicon-based life form.
As you probably know, carbon (mostly in the form of hydrocarbons) is the basis of life on this planet. Silicon would be the next element in the periodic table with properties similar to those of carbon. Hydro-silicon compounds are a possibility, so there’s a theoretical possibility of silicon-based life. But there are a number of problems. Since a silicon atom is heavier than a carbon atom, the bonds between silicon atoms are only stable at much lower temperatures than bonds between carbon atoms (they require a temperature around -150F). Therefore, silicon-based life forms would be possible only in very cold planets/habitats. But there’s a further problem: lower temperatures mean low chemical reaction rates, so the metabolism of silicon-based organisms would be necessarily slower than carbon-based organisms’ metabolism. So, silicon-based organisms would be able to generate less energy for mechanical action (and remember, our brains require massive amounts of energy).
Silicon-based life forms would be very primitive, at best; flourishing only where there’re no carbon-based competitors.
Natural selection, operating on the first replicators would quickly eliminate silicon-based life forms, so only the more fit carbon-based organisms would survive. The only way you’d see a silicon-based life form would be on some frozen planet/satellite (like one of the Jovian moons, like Europa), where there’s not enough carbon (and energy) available to form carbon-based replicators. But even in this case, you’d expect those life forms to be very primitive (unicellular organisms, or very simple multicellular organisms, like fungi).
There's no kind of purpose for life. No purpose at all. Yet, life has arisen in the universe nonetheless. But why?Kazuya Mishima said:I have always wondered about this:
Is life a natural evolution of the universe? The way galaxies/planets/minerals/atoms are created is following a kind of principle and one is formed after the other in a perfect/chaotic order but it comprises of inanimated objects. When/why the universe need living organism? Just to make sure they mantain an equilibrium in the amount of minerals/elements?
Just wondering why and please, please, just this time, please, don't answer with something religion based.....
I always like it when people agree that although there is reason, there is no purpose. A lot of people find it hard to differientate between the two. ;PBoltzmann said:There's no kind of purpose for life. No purpose at all. But life had arisen in the universe nonetheless. But why?
The difference is subtle, but it does exist.klatch said:I always like it when people agree that although there is reason, there is no purpose. A lot of people find it hard to differientate between the two. ;P
As for life's role in the universe, it is a simple matter of thermodynamics. According to the three laws, there is always a constant flux of enthalpy, order, towards entropy, chaos. Once you reach maximum entropy, you will reach thermodynamic equilibrium. Since that is too damn boring, you need to introduce the random chance of enthalpy formation in order to prolong the eventual totality of entropy. Life is simply a build-up of enthalpy used to buffer the impending end of the universe.In Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, the monstrous trolls of folklore and J.R.R. Tolkien have been subverted into a moderately civilised race. They are nocturnal, silicon-based creatures, hence the stories of them turning to stone when hit by the sun. Their apparent unintelligence is due to heat affecting the conductivity of their brains. In high mountain areas they can, in certain respects, be quite clever.
Troll society is based on rocks and hitting people. They have numerous gods, all of whom bless their worshippers by hitting them on the head with a rock. In a troll courtship the male troll hits the female troll on the head with a pretty rock. And so on.
Rock and stone is also the natural diet of trolls, and they have diamond teeth to enable this. They can gain some nutrition from the mineral content of carbon-based animals (including humans, although they never do that any more, honest), but not much. The troll language (like dwarfish) has hundreds of words for different kinds of rock. It also has one word that means "vegetation".
Trolls tend to be named after rocks, minerals and geological features.
Trolls and dwarfs have an ongoing feud, ostensibly stemming from one being a race of living rocks, and the other being a race of miners, but really, these days dwarfs hate trolls because trolls hate dwarfs and vice versa.
Troll society is unsophisticated, but some trolls in urban areas such as Ankh-Morpork manage to direct their tendency towards violence in more civilised directions. Many trolls have joined the City Watch, beginning with Sergeant Detritus. Others have found a niche in the opposing profession; there is a troll organised crime family, called the Breccia, led by the "Ton" Chrysophrase.
Trolls are theoretically immortal, but as they get older they get bigger and slower and tend to be more inclined to sit and think. They call this "getting philosophy". Many of the Discworld's mountains are actually very old trolls.
Bold statement, yet I disagree with you. We both have a purpose and a reason for life. IMO, if you can't find why, then look out for the answer. That being said, my phylosophy behind my reasoning comes from a religous background, so lets not get into that.... ( and I mean in it this time, I REALLY won't get into that no matter what )Boltzmann said:There's no kind of purpose for life. No purpose at all. Yet, life has arisen in the universe nonetheless. But why?
Give me strong empirical evidence before I accept your claim about a purpose for life. Religious arguments don't count, so a religious discussion is out of question.エッリー said:Bold statement, yet I disagree with you. We both have a purpose and a reason for life. IMO, if you can't find why, then look out for the answer. That being said, my phylosophy behind my reasoning comes from a religous background, so lets not get into that.... ( and I mean in it this time, I REALLY won't get into that no matter what )
I thought that was what you were arguing about. The fact that anyone can invent a purpose and live for it kinda goes without saying...エッリー said:Point is : for whatever objective/goal you are living for, that is your purpose. Though, whether it IS "THE" intended purpose we are supposed to live with or not is another debate.
I am not trying to propose my belief. Yes, I do believe in a "universal" purpose for everyone of us, but I am not putting it on the table here.Boltzmann said:We humans can justifiy our own lives. I don't dispute that. This doesn't mean there's a cosmic purpose behind our lives. Only human purposes, created by humans. And that's good enough for me.
Now, if you believe in cosmic purposes ("THE purpose", as you put it), read my previous post (#16). For me, it's irrelevant. If you disagree, show me the evidence.
Whether that purpose is "cosmical" , "humanly justified" or whatever, it remains a purpose for a life, hence why I think that statement of yours is wrong.Boltzmann said:There's no kind of purpose for life. No purpose at all. Yet, life has arisen in the universe nonetheless. But why?
It's still a purpose, even if it was "invented"....__Xzyx987X said:I thought that was what you were arguing about. The fact that anyone can invent a purpose and live for it kinda goes without saying...