[ RadSafe ] Evolution, radiation, space travel, etc.

John Gerald Center, Jr john.center at wmich.edu
Thu Aug 11 13:05:43 CDT 2011

This may be true for Carbon based life forms.  Who can definitively say that life has to be carbon based.  Looking at our own diverse planet, we have bacteria alive and thriving in what under "normal" perceived conditions should be impossible.  From an evolutionary standpoint, if there were a world whose "normal" conditions, though vastly different from ours, existed, what would stop the progress.  "Natural selection" depends on the nature.  We have seen this in our life times as conditions change, there are selective species changes.  White colored moths selecting for grey due to pollution coloring their background.  Rattlesnakes becoming a pygamy phenotype due to ecological restraints.  There may be a silicon based intelligent life form out there that requires chronic high dose exposure to regulate their natural biological functions.  As we continuously find new and diverse life in and on our little planet, how can we still believe that we are alone in the vastness of space?  We do not even understand the complexities of our own biosphere, yet we are going to set limits and requirements for life elsewhere.

Someday, I believe we will find an organism here on this planet that requires radiation to survive, absorbs italmost completely, and can form a biofilm.  We will use this organism to protect our fragile little bodies from the extremes of space and travel beyond our current abilities of imagination. I just hope we do not blow up intelligent rocks for there mineral content.

Musing and dreaming,


----- Original Message -----
> From: "Rick Strickert" <rstrickert at signaturescience.com>
> To: "The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List" <radsafe at agni.phys.iit.edu>
> Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2011 1:25:28 PM
> Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Evolution, radiation, space travel, etc.
> The probability of intelligent life in the Milky Way galaxy, other
> than our own (which itself may be debated elsewhere ;-)), is extremely
> small. The reasons for this extremely minute probability are the
> increasing number of rather unique (low probability) features being
> found for our planet, moon, and solar system that, if not required,
> allow intelligent life to exist and prosper over long period of time.
> Even billions and billions of stars are not likely to significantly
> increase the probability that we are alone in the galaxy. Because of
> the distances, whether intelligent life exists in other galaxies,
> groups, or clusters of galaxies is of little significance.
> Some of these features are discussed by Howard A. Smith, in "Alone in
> the Universe" (American Scientist, 99:4, July-August, 2011, pp.
> 320-7). Smith, while noting the "anthropic principle," promotes a
> "misanthropic principle," which he defines as "the idea that the
> possible environments and biological opportunities in this apposite
> cosmos are so vast, varied and uncooperative (or hostile), either
> always or at some time during the roughly 3-4 billion years
> intelligent life requires to emerge, that it is unlikely for
> intelligence to form, thrive and survive easily."
> Rick Strickert
> Austin, TX
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John G. Center, Jr.
Radiation Safety Officer
3922 Wood Hall
Western Michigan University
1903 W. Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI  49008-5410

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