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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Mar > Mar 2

Re: Sampling Earth's Biodiversity

From: Michael Tarbell <mtarbell.nul>
Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2012 09:17:00 -0700
Archived: Fri, 02 Mar 2012 15:38:25 -0500
Subject: Re: Sampling Earth's Biodiversity

>From: J. Maynard Gelinas <j.maynard.gelinas.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2012 04:49:36 +0800
>Subject: Re: Sampling Earth's Biodiversity

>>From: Michael Tarbell <mtarbell.nul>
>>To: post.nul
>>Date: Wed, 29 Feb 2012 10:21:02 -0700
>>Subject: Re: Sampling Earth's Biodiversity

>>>From: Stanton T. Friedman <fsphys.nul>
>>>To: <post.nul>
>>>Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2012 11:11:41 -0400
>>>Subject: Re: Sampling Earth's Biodiversity

>>>1. Earth is the densest planet in the solar system implying
>>>higher levels of such very high density metals as Rhenium,
>>>Osmium, Gold tungsten, uranium,etc.. all of which have special
>>>properties and appear to be rare in the stars of the local

>>Earth is slightly (several percent) more dense than Mercury and
>>Venus, but there is nothing to suggest that that this is due to
>>some unusual abundance of the elements you cite. Indeed, if
>>those elements were to suddenly disappear, the effect on the
>>average density of the Earth would be negligible (<< 1%).

>>That bit of pedantry aside, your broader point is taken that
>>Earth is quite the jewel in the local neighborhood.

>But what is the resource that makes Earth that jewel? Is it a
>raw resource, such as rare elements unavailable elsewhere? Or
>does life itself - the ability of life to craft chemical bonds
>atom by atom - combined with vast a biodiversity allowing for
>the creation of all sorts of novel compounds represent that
>jewel? That's the question at hand in this thread.

Hi Maynard,

I think your effort to make a hypothetical ET visitation less
anthropocentric is commendable, i.e., we shouldn't suppose it
would be all about us. But your proposed scenario might itself
be considered anthropocentric, in that it implicitly ascribes
human motivations and characteristics to alien life forms.

For example, you frame your question as: Is it some raw resource
(e.g., rare elements) that makes Earth a 'jewel', or is it
perhaps living organisms themselves (e.g., from which to create
novel new compounds)?

But this is a quintessentially human assessment of the options,
one that effectively presumes that the 'value' of a place
relates primarily to the potential payoff from some extractive
or exploitative process (e.g., so as to fill the coffers of
Spain with gold, or to sell coal to China).

If there were some clear evolutionary advantage to such a
philosophy, I would be more comfortable with projecting it onto
hypothetical ET visitors. However, quite the opposite seems
likely... the rate of species extinction on Earth is now 100 to
1000 times the normal background rate, and it's no mystery who's
behind it. And continued unchecked, it spells our own doom as
well (consider, say, the extinction of plant pollinators).

In other words, our own experience suggests that there could
well be an evolutionary selection effect at work that makes
visitation by aggressively exploitative/extractive ET cultures,
or even the descendants of such cultures, relatively unlikely.
But I confess that may represent hope as much as deduction.

As to the specific resource you've focused on and its potential
use to ETs, the idea is certainly intriguing (also as expanded
in your more lengthy recent post). But whether for purposes of
biomechanical modeling or generating exotic chemical compounds,
why on Earth (so to speak) would they need to come all the way
here to do that?

Presumably they themselves derived from biological evolutionary
processes, so they should already have genetic material to work
with. There is nothing to indicate that such processes on Earth
are chemically unique in terms of exotic reactions or extremely
rare elements. The requisite materials are widespread, and they
are known to combine spontaneously to form many of the critical
components (e.g., amino acids in interstellar molecular clouds).

The genetic/biochemical factories and toolsets you discuss are
already in rudimentary development by our own species (e.g.,
witness goats producing spider webs in their milk, and similar
grotesques). I should think that in general such capability is
developed and mastered well before interstellar travel is.
Absent the looming ecological crisis discussed above, or perhaps
even in spite of it, humans could well soon be custom-designing
and fabricating genetic material out of whole cloth. Which is
not at all reassuring, since that would represent a vastly more
dangerous toy than, say, nuclear weapons.


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