Thursday, July 21, 2011

Studying microbialite structures and theological and cultural implications of the discovery of ETI

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Abodes - Astrobiology Magazine Field Research Editor Henry Bortman is spending the week in British Columbia with scientists from the Pavilion Lake Research Project. They are using submersible vehicles to explore the "microbialite" structures that line the bottom of Kelly Lake. In his first report, Bortman describes some initial snags. See article.
g Cosmicus - Seven years into what was planned as a three-month mission, NASA's Opportunity rover has driven more than 50 times its original distance goal. See article.
g Aftermath - The scientific discussion of the evolution of life in the universe raises some key philosophical and theological issues Will life and intelligence be found throughout the universe, or will it turn out to be exceedingly rare? Will intelligent life be capable of both rationality and moral agency? Will evolutionary biology determine its moral content or will it merely bequeath intelligent life with moral capacity, leaving moral content to be determined independently of biology? If moral agency evolves, will these species inevitably exhibit moral failure, or is our generic human experience of moral failure strictly the result of our particular evolution, leaving us to expect there to be other civilizations that are entirely benign? The discussion of these issues, though largely hypothetical, can offer insight into the theological and cultural implications of the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence as well into a better understanding of the human condition. See article.

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