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Jupiter-Bound Space Probe Captures Earth and Moon - Comments

dloubet's Avatar Comment 1 by dloubet

And we're supposed to believe that the whole universe was created for the benefit of little biological machines rooting around on the surface of that tiny blue dot.

Riiiiight...

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 20:43:11 UTC | #866018

celtlen's Avatar Comment 2 by celtlen

Seeing this picture, my thoughts turned to Carl Sagan. I think he would have loved this new view of our "pale blue dot." The beauty produced by science makes religion seem like the scribblings of a child.

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 20:54:06 UTC | #866028

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 3 by Steve Zara

Comment 1 by dloubet

And we're supposed to believe that the whole universe was created for the benefit of little biological machines rooting around on the surface of that tiny blue dot.

Riiiiight...

I like being controversial, which is good because many of my views are, so...

Why not? I have never got the point of the "little blue dot" idea. Anything is tiny if you get far enough away, so what has size got to do with it? Also, as far as we can tell, almost all of the universe is empty, cold, and boring. Space may be very, very big, but it's also very, very empty, and very, very simple.

However, there is one process we know of that has the amazing ability to feed of flows of energy and build up fantastic complexity. It is evolution. In terms of the volume of the universe, evolution is an astronomically rare thing. But, in terms of the complexity of the universe, it's almost everything.

If some aliens scanned the universe with a complexity-meter, they would see nothing but life. We little biological machines are highly significant in this sparse universe.

Of course, I'm not saying I believe that the universe was created for us, but that the "tiny blue dot" argument doesn't work for me: it places significant on the boring parts of the universe.

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 20:59:30 UTC | #866031

Luke_B's Avatar Comment 4 by Luke_B

celtlen: 'The beauty produced by science makes religion seem like the scribblings of a child'

Awesome. Thanks very much for that. I hope you don't mind but I'm off to put it as my Window's Live status :-)

As for the reference to Carl Sagan, yes that's exactly what I thought.

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 21:01:58 UTC | #866033

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 5 by alaskansee

I'm no professional photographer but could they have cropped the photo a little tighter to the actual interesting bit? At that resolution all I can see is the sort of thing I get on my lens all the time when I don't clean it.

The photo only works with a subtitle, not like "earth rise".

http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/features/bm_gallery_4.html

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 21:02:06 UTC | #866034

Luke_B's Avatar Comment 6 by Luke_B

In reference to Steve Zara in comment 3: I don't pretend to talk for dloubet but I don't really understand your point. You acknowledge the fact that the space is 'very, very big, but it's also very, very empty, and very, very simple' so surely that supports the point dloubet was making? The Universe is huge. So huge that light travelling at 186,000 miles/second hasn't had time in the 13.8 billion year age of the Universe to travel from one side of it to the other, and yet the majority of the world believe that it was all made as the playground for the inhabitants of the tiny blue dot in that picture. Isn't that the point dloubet was making? The absurdity of the claim that the people of such a small dot in the Universe are the sole reason for it's existence?

Although I could be wrong...

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 21:10:22 UTC | #866038

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 7 by Steve Zara

Comment 6 by Luke_B

The Universe is huge. So huge that light travelling at 186,000 miles/second hasn't had time in the 13.8 billion year age of the Universe to travel from one side of it to the other, and yet the majority of the world believe that it was all made as the playground for the inhabitants of the tiny blue dot in that picture. Isn't that the point dloubet was making?

Yes. But why should we be insignificant because the universe is big? Virtually all the universe is cold, empty and simple.

The universe is like a vast desert. We are the only oasis of life we know. The desert does not make the oasis worthless.

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 21:20:13 UTC | #866044

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 8 by alaskansee

Interesting that, as was the case with some other space voyager, (maybe called Galileo?) it was the photographs looking back at earth that were so informative. Isn't it those photos that told us it wasn't just Saturn that had rings? Cool stuff, if a little fuzzy.

PS just changed my Gravator photo, if you look close you can see a planet, I'm sure! ;-)

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 21:39:21 UTC | #866054

Luke_B's Avatar Comment 9 by Luke_B

Ref Steve comment 7:

I think I see where you're coming from, but I don't think the point being made is that the vastness of the Universe makes us insignificant. I think the point is that the vastness of the Universe makes the suggestion that a magical super being made it all especially for us is laughable.

'The universe is like a vast desert. We are the only oasis of life we know. The desert does not make the oasis worthless.'

True, but there's no reason to believe that the desert was made for the benefit of the oasis either.

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 21:44:06 UTC | #866056

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 10 by Steve Zara

Comment 9 by Luke_B

I think I see where you're coming from

I don't know whether to congratulate or not - this is quite rare when I go off on one of my "rants" like this :)

I think the point is that the vastness of the Universe makes the suggestion that a magical super being made it all especially for us is laughable.

I just don't see that. From one point of view, look what the super being has given us - a vast empty universe for us to play in for the next trillion years!

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 21:47:19 UTC | #866058

Luke_B's Avatar Comment 11 by Luke_B

'From one point of view, look what the super being has given us - a vast empty universe for us to play in for the next trillion years!'

Or to put it another way:

From one point of view, look what the super being has given us - a vast empty book for us to argue over for the next trillion years! ;-)

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 21:53:00 UTC | #866061

victimlesscrime's Avatar Comment 12 by victimlesscrime

I like this picture. A real sense of loneliness and isolation.

This one's my favourite though. Download a high quality version and zoom right in... and out... and in...

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 21:58:28 UTC | #866069

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 13 by Neodarwinian

You know you're getting old when you have to go get a magnifying glass to see the moon!

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 22:01:33 UTC | #866071

Vicar of Art on Earth's Avatar Comment 14 by Vicar of Art on Earth

These comments show there can not be a hidden agenda of free thinkers and scientists. We can't even agree on something just being an amazing photo.

This site always gets those synapsis going.

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 22:02:18 UTC | #866073

Billions and Billions's Avatar Comment 15 by Billions and Billions

For those that haven't read it, or perhaps not in a while...

"From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Look again at that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

—Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 22:12:56 UTC | #866079

I'm_not's Avatar Comment 16 by I'm_not

Comment 7 by Steve Zara :

Comment 6 by Luke_B

The Universe is huge. So huge that light travelling at 186,000 miles/second hasn't had time in the 13.8 billion year age of the Universe to travel from one side of it to the other, and yet the majority of the world believe that it was all made as the playground for the inhabitants of the tiny blue dot in that picture. Isn't that the point dloubet was making?

Yes. But why should we be insignificant because the universe is big? Virtually all the universe is cold, empty and simple.

The universe is like a vast desert. We are the only oasis of life we know. The desert does not make the oasis worthless.

Quite the opposite. I've always seen that as the point.

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 22:28:52 UTC | #866084

inquisador's Avatar Comment 17 by inquisador

One thing about the increasingly known vast scale of the universe is how amazingly preposterous is the notion that a single entity could have physically created it all. And if we are the special pets of that entity for whom it was all made, despite the wasteful redundancy of most of that universe, how would our favoured status as God's darlings be affected by the discovery of rivals for God's affection in the form of other intelligent lifeforms in other parts of the galaxy?

I guess we would need another 'revelation' to instruct us to go and acquire their land and property, after justifiably killing them all of course.

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 22:43:39 UTC | #866088

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 18 by Steve Zara

comment 17 by inquisador

One thing about the increasingly known vast scale of the universe is how amazingly preposterous is the notion that a single entity could have physically created it all.

Sorry to be awkward yet again, but it actually isn't that preposterous. According to one idea all you need is a relatively small amount of matter, and compress it into the right sort of black hole, and BANG, you have created a universe, which will expand to a vast scale within another set of dimensions. Gregory Benford wrote a rather fun sci-fi novel about this happening in an LHC-type experiment: "COSM".

Our universe might be the result of an experiment in some other universe. But that doesn't mean there is a god.

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 23:05:21 UTC | #866096

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 19 by rod-the-farmer

Steve....you need a relatively small amount of matter ? In relation to what ? Or are you assuming that whatever expands out of the Big Bang, the rest of the matter in the universe will create itself out of nothing ?

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 23:34:34 UTC | #866109

inquisador's Avatar Comment 20 by inquisador

comment 18 by Steve Zara,

Our universe might be the result of an experiment in some other universe.

Who'd a thunk it? So maybe not as preposterous as I thought. You make it sound almost easy. So scientists on Earth could become God to beings in another universe?

They ought to be claiming large salary increases on the strength of this.

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 23:37:29 UTC | #866111

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 21 by Steve Zara

Comment 19 by rod-the-farmer

Steve....you need a relatively small amount of matter ? In relation to what ? Or are you assuming that whatever expands out of the Big Bang, the rest of the matter in the universe will create itself out of nothing ?

Yes. I believe that only a relatively small amount of matter is needed (I don't know the physics, just trying to recall an old paper), only a matter of grams. The problem is squeezing it!

Comment 20 by inquisador

So scientists on Earth could become God to beings in another universe?

That's a really fascinating question! I would say no, because such beings would still be ordinary evolved life-forms. The definition of "god" I use is a being who is either the essence of reality or some avatar of an aspect of nature, and who somehow defines morality. I would say that covers just about all of the myths. A super-alien, no matter how super, would not be super-natural, and not a "god".

What do you think?

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 00:02:56 UTC | #866115

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 22 by Laurie Fraser

Ah, Steve - you certainly are being the resident contrarian today! I think there is room for agreement on both sides of this equation - the remarkability factor is staggering: this abundant oasis floating in the vastness of, well, nothing much. Thrilling and chilling in equal measure.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 00:15:37 UTC | #866116

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 23 by Steve Zara

Comment 22 by Laurie Fraser

I am, of course, an honest contrarian though! Carl Sagan was my hero, and yet I could go along with his "pale blue dot" message. It seemed to me to be trying to make us humble in the face of the amazing and vast universe that surrounds us. But to me a message from science is that we are amazing too. We are incredibly more complex than any star or galaxy, and infinitely more precious. That we and our home look small from a distance doesn't diminish us for me.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 00:23:30 UTC | #866118

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 24 by Tyler Durden

On its way to the biggest planet in the solar system -- Jupiter, NASA's Juno spacecraft took time to capture its home planet and its natural satellite -- the moon.

I can see my house from here :)

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 00:25:56 UTC | #866119

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 25 by Atheist Mike

That picture makes me feel insecure :(

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 00:33:03 UTC | #866122

rjohn19's Avatar Comment 26 by rjohn19

I think regardless of who or what created this mess, we can rule out anyone or anything that gives a rat's arse about what happens on this pale blue dot.

This discussion recalls an encounter I had in my 20's with the head of the outfit I worked for. It was a despotic "great man" company just outside of DC. I set Dan Rather on a boat in one of our lakes for the famous captioned photos of the day, "Dan Rather Has Gone Fishing" for his pounding of Nixon and frequently picked up and delivered Defense Secretary Mel Laird to our boss.

Anyway, one day I saw the head guy by chance and asked if it would be okay if one of the company pilots took me in a company car after work to pick up my car at the shop. He said not unsympathetically, "You'll have to ask Col. Ross; that is below my field of vision."

On the oddest off, off, remotest, most ridiculously improbable, highly neglible chance there is a creator of all this chaos, we'd be exactly there- below his field of vision. He'd be far too busy worrying with whole galaxies smashing into one another to worry about where Aunt Martha left her keys.

If you did happen to run into him and made a request, I feel quite certain he'd say, "Ah, sorry. Ninth floor, thirty-seventh cherubim on the left."

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 00:42:53 UTC | #866127

crusader234's Avatar Comment 27 by crusader234

wow might get to see under jupiters clouds in five years, thats cool as F%#K!

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 01:07:37 UTC | #866134

mygodlesslife's Avatar Comment 28 by mygodlesslife

I love these kind of shots, but does anyone know where the moon was in its orbit? It looks a little close to me.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 01:19:25 UTC | #866137

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 29 by Carl Sai Baba

One week in 1969 some people traveled from one of those dots to the other and walked on it, and it was the most amazing thing that ever happened.

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 01:29:30 UTC | #866145

Robert Howard's Avatar Comment 30 by Robert Howard

Comment 21 by Steve Zara

That's a really fascinating question! I would say no, because such beings would still be ordinary evolved life-forms. The definition of "god" I use is a being who is either the essence of reality or some avatar of an aspect of nature, and who somehow defines morality. I would say that covers just about all of the myths. A super-alien, no matter how super, would not be super-natural, and not a "god".

Hello, Steve. You had me up until the point whrere you said that a god must somehow define morality. I had always believed that throughout history, most of the gods weren't particularly interested in telling us humans what to do. If you look at the Greek or Roman gods, for example, these guys were far too busy satisfying their own base desires to concern themselves with our moral wellbeing.

And Aztec and Olmec gods may have demanded human sacrifice, but I imagine their preference for virginal victims had more to do with the purity of the victims' blood than anything else.

Isn't the current bloke in charge, Jahweh, Allah, whatever He wants to be called, the only god who has ever really stuck His massive oar in and tried to tell us how to live our lives, promising dire consequences if we choose to disobey?

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 02:09:42 UTC | #866164