Vexen Crabtree 2015


Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Vexen Crabtree 2015

Life's BIG questions...

Do any of you know:

1. What are some estimates as to the size of the universe?

2. What are some estimates about how many planets & moons are habitable by people?

3. What is the radius of the Earth?

4. To what depth in metres, and to what height, do humans live? I.e., we live from 20m below sea level in some places, to 3km above sea level in others? What's the range?

  • 1
1. the universe is larger than 93 billion light years, acording to wikipedia.
and of kcourse, We can be sure that radius in light years is greater than it's age - as we can't see the edges.

2. there's not enough data to even make a guess on how many would be habitable - but I can say that right now there are none, as we have no way of getting to them to do any habiting.

3. 6,371.0 km

4. 20m below and 3 or 4 km above sounds about right. Unless you count people currently resident in orbit, or who are currently in planes etc.

why anyway?

Go girl, that's awesome! I partially wrote the entry to remind myself to look these values up.

Gawp at it, but I want to give what fractions of the Earth, and of the Universe, are potentially habitable by people! To do that I need radius's of the Earth, calculate the % of that which is habitable, multiply by the potential number of planets, get their total volume, and get the % that that is of the universes' total size.

There, now you know why I'm after those values! Begs another question :p

% habitable...

I have a question...

What part of the electromagnetic spectrum is inhabitable?

The amount of the total electro magnetic spectrum allowed to the earths surface (predominantly the visible light spectrum) is less than 1 trillionth of a trillionth or approximately 1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000th of the total spectrum.

The other wavelengths in the spectrum are lethal or useless to the immediate needs of carbon based life.

There is some good info on the subject here at about 5 minutes into the video:

This link will only take you to part 3 of 6.

There is a wealth of information from astrobiologists using solid emperical science on in this video as to the habitability of the universe. It also touches on the question of life other than carbon based.


Some calculations already done...

Vexen, you may or may not agree with the assesment of the astrobiologists on this documentary, but you will find the information useful in making your own calculations.

In part 3, they tell us what their calculations show in terms of getting the known and commonly accepted factors needed for life in one place and time. They say that probabilities of getting all the factors is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 or 1 onethousandth of 1 onetrillionth.

It's not a direct correlation to your question of what percentage of the universe is habitable. Rather it shows why virtually none of it is. That is quite contrary to the domminant cultural assumptions and philosophy in highly publicized circles.

But as Chris mentioned below, our knowledge base is in flux. so the figures could change in the future. I see them only getting worse in terms of probability. Like junk DNA, as we learn more, we find it serves other purposes. So those are at least predictions that might sustain the hypothesis in the future. Any good theory should make predictions you know...

They claim in the documentary to be quite conservative so as to give us a flavor for the difficulties without claiming a definitive calculation. I find it all very reasonable. But perhaps I am blinded by my own philosophical leanings. But it seems to me that this entire excersize is done with almost robotic objective discipline. I mean the evidence is bound to sustain someones philosophy. It doesn't always mean that the research is motivated or degraded by one's bias.

I have studied these arguments very thoroughly and could write quite a bit about them. But if your really interested, you can watch it yourself.

Here's a copy and paste link to part 3:

Yu really have to watch the whole thing to appriciate the context of the arguments. So don't dismiss one strand of the reasoning out of hand without weighing the whole context.

The conclusion of the whole thing... ...that the universe is severely inhospitable to carbon based life in general. That mathematically speaking, there are impossibly small parameters neccessary for life.

1- REALLY big.
2- Not that many considering how many planets and moons there are
4- I dunno you gave the outer limits in different measurements! :O

They are some very, interesting, big questions.

You came up in conversation round our dinning table the other night. Strange but true! :P

there is a bit in bill brisons book about this... i might have it at home... if so, ill check for you what he recons... there is a good equation about working out how many planets in the universe are prob inhabited... it us A LOT.

1) So big it's not worth worrying about. It's fecking hayuge. Seriously, it can't be measured at present so don't even bother on that one ;)
2) There is no accurate way of determining how many are habitable by us as we can't see or analyse that far. And our probes can't get that far. So you have to look at theory and what little we do know. Probability of a world/ moon being habitable is remote, but not impossible, for us. As for other lifeforms that are none carbon based and you open a whole new realm of possibilities. We have sulphur based life on this planet, although it is very rare. Little bugs living in caverns deep below the ground. But they are sulphur based. Look up Black Smokers for more examples of life in unusual places and how it adapts. IIRC there is this lot for the theory, but this will give you a better idea.
3) Wikipedia figures on size of the earth. Remember it's slightly squished due to it's spin so the distance from pole to pole is less than the distance through the equatorial line.
4) It's a pressure thing, assuming it's not a bit wet or cold/ thin on atmosphere. Without life support I do believe the 20m below to 3-4km up figure is accurate.

Edited at 2008-01-31 05:10 pm (UTC)

Actually these life forms are still carbon based. They are not sulpher based.

The only difference is that they use sulfer as a food source, so as to convert it into biological energy.

They are still carbon based. They are still ATP dependant for cellular energy function.


Ah right. Heading into territory that makes me go 'wha?'. I just saw a documentary and that's the wording used. It does however demonstrate the ability for our little niche of 'life' to adapt to some very weird turf, which I believe was part of Meester Vexens interest.


Yup, think I just saved that ;)

Territory is not so difficult...

This isn't so difficult a terrain really. What qualifies as 'weird turf' Chris?

We live in a universe with temperatures ranging from –273.15°C at absolute zero, to numbers that are mind-numbing on the + side of the spectrum, the hottest temperature we've ever been able to achieve in a laboratory was at Fermilab in the American midwest, where they briefly reached a temperature of 10 to the 14th powerºc / ie. 100 million million degrees. (Source / )

Within that vast spectrum, there is a very thin range that permits carbon based biological function.

So, if we take the temperature range as being approximately 100 trillion (100,000,000,000,000ºc) it is only a range of no more than about 150 ºc inwhich we find living organisms; about -40ºc to +80ºc.

So when we say 'wierd', we have to ask ourselves, 'compared to what'?

The empirical reality of the situation, is that carbon based life, compared to the extremes of environmental conditions in the universe as a whole, is a very delicate balance. So when we compare life to life and environment to environment they are not weird relative to each other.

In fact, they are quite mundane...

Be very mindful of the 'wording' used in these productions Chris. In my opinion, many of these documentaries use words that are irresponsible with respect to the actual case. That is because they are actually pushing a philosophy, rather than empirical science.


Re: Territory is not so difficult...

I understand the concepts fine. It's the science I don't understand. But I have no serious biology/chemistry qualifications, nor interest to that level. So I definitely do not speaky da lingo ;)

If my stuff was ever to be published I'd be worried, but indeed duly noted on the wording. Problem is how do you know you've got the wording wrong etc etc. And tbh there are so many words out there you can't remember every one :D

Re: Territory is not so difficult...

Oh, one thing to watch on empirical science. It's not a static thing. Constantly shifting and changing with each new discovery, and the schools of thought that lead to the exploration that leads to that big discovery. I don't think anyone can truly keep up completely. Not with everything anyway, the universe is way too big. Based on that I think it's very short-sighted to dismiss the possibilities as simply not existing as I've never seen them etc etc. Probables, possibles, shades of grey, and ultimately making a choice as to what you believe. A risk in any profession.

Back to Vexen's article though. He wants an idea for a calculation, so has to take into account other lifeforms and their environments etc etc if he wants a truer picture of what is 'possibly' out there. Just because we can live there doesn't mean other lifeforms can't, which was really my point. Like little bugs in caves etc etc.

This is now getting way too deep. I need beer and kinky sex dammit.

Re: Territory is not so difficult...

Chris, don't dismiss your own capacity to grasp this stuff. I mean really... if you can't grasp it, then you can be led along like a lemming.

I hope none of us would do that!

What I was pointing out, is that a lot of the documentaries I see, promote the idea (philosophy) that life is common in the universe. It is afterall, a very big universe. But the actual science doesn't bear that out. In fact, an emperical approach shows the opposite according to astrobiologists who meticulously study this stuff. And their arguments are quite easy to understand conceptually.

Just think about the term 'extremophiles' for instance. The word itself implies a bizzare and alien nature to those organisms; organisms like the ones you mentioned, that metabolize sulpher for energy.

We certainly can 'believe' in life other than our carbon based. I personally believe in life that is far more alien than we often suppose in the current cultural climate and bias. I believe in life that is not alien in terms of coming from elsewhere within our universe, but from outside of it entirely! I believe in non-physical life. But not blindly mind you... I only believe it, because I believe that that life has made contact with me.

I don't think a calculation of what is 'possibly' out there is even meaningful, unless such an internal and philosophical calculation is measured by testing it against the background of the external natural world.

So, if we look at just the factor of temperature, which is necessary for biological life that we know emperically exists, we find that we should spend our resources looking in places that have the incredibly narrow range of temperatures inwhich that life is already found.

Bear in mind that temperature is only one factor, that limits the inhabitability of an environment. And just this one factor eliminates the majority of the universe as being inhabitable.

I think that is a legitimate line of thinking if we want to actually be well reasoned in our approach to the question of life elsewhere.

It doesn't mean biological life other than our own doesn't exist. We cannot prove a negative. It simply means that such a belief is predicated more on a materialistic worldview that twists the historical discipline of science into something that is not scientific in the original empirical sense.

But then again, so much of science these days is really not science. It's philosophy does however, lend to the idea that indulgence in beer and kinky sex is a far more productive use of time than it actually is.

In the end, it ironially turns out to be too extreme and fundamentalist. It exalts the physical desires and rationalization for them, over and above the rest of the dimensions of existence that must be balanced in order to see the whole (or Holy) picture to a greater degree.

But what do I know? I'm not a scientist either. I'm a truck driver...

Science or philosophy? (Anonymous) Expand
Re: Does that make sense? (Anonymous) Expand
Misread... (Anonymous) Expand

Not sulfer based in that way...

Actually these life forms are still carbon based. They are not sulpher based.

The only difference is that they use sulfer as a food source, so as to convert it into biological energy.

They are still carbon based. They are still ATP dependant for cellular energy function.


I'm sure that you can get informed and sensible answers to these questions, so I'm going to toss out my best guesses to see if they're close to the mark.

(30% confidence) The limits of the observed universe lie at about 9 billion light-years and these areas (as observed from here and now, due to light-propagation delay) are believed to date from very close to the Big Bang. So at least 20-odd billion light-years across. But there are limits to the observable universe, and for all we know there's a lot more beyond that.

(50% confidence) Within the Solar System, inhabitable by people in their native, unprotected state? Exactly one. It is perhaps feasible that Mars could be terraformed; two. Beyond that you have to invoke steadily greater technological infrastructures to protect us from vacuum (the moon), great cold (any outer planets), great heat (the inner planets), dropping into the planet's core (the gas giants), and so on. Outside the Solar System... some gas-giant-sized planets have been observed orbiting other stars, but as yet we are unable to observe rocky planets of Earth's size. Given that the Sun has several, it's tempting to speculate that such planets are common, but of course the likelihood of compatible biospheres is zilch.

(100% confidence) Slightly under 4,000 miles.

(60% confidence) To actually live, to dwell: from the Dead Sea (-300m, I think?) to about 6,000 metres. Much above that, and the human body begins to suffer inexorable degradation from oxygen shortage.

Now I'll go and see what the real answers are. *wag*

The survivable range is pretty much determined by oxygen levels, if your trying to guestimate livable surface in the universe it's going to depend as much on how it's configured as to how much is there. eg alter the oxygen mixture or gravitational pull and the max height changes.

On Everest the death zone is considered above about 7600m but I'd consider livable limit to be closer to the 4000-5000m based on the Peruvian Andes plateaus, where the locals can live and breed OK because of evolutionary adaptations but when the Spanish moved in, they survived but could not carry pregnacy to termination and have a surving offspring. Suggesting it's pretty near the limit for a breeding colony of humans.

I've no doubt that if there were lower places on earth humans could survive somewhat lower than the Dead Sea though as it doean't have an equivalent only the adapted can breed limitation.

(Deleted comment)

Re: Morality and religions part 3...

Ok. Here's the deal. If you are happy with your beliefs and they work for you it's bloody irritating for someone to walk up and say 'you don't want to do it like that, you want to do it like that'. Beliefs are a very personal thing afterall.

Christians badgering pagans for no reason. Ok it's badgering now not murder, so things have improved, but yes. Still irritating. And also very patronising. Speaking personally I had my awakening during a period when I was in a very bad way and in an awful position. This was my sacred wound. I reached out for help and had the Kaballah visualisation. It was 5 years on when I found out the vision I had had was the Kaballah visualisation. Exact description. I just said 'Blimey!'. You know the wierd thing though? It happened in the year 2000, and seeing as the events I was caught in left me so badly injured I'm now classed as disabled and yeah. I was nearly murdered in my own home.

Now I try to be careful. The injury was me being left Paranoid Schizophrenic. I have to be careful on that one. The number 13 and 7 show up in my life rather a lot, and that's kinda wierd as well. So I take everything with a pinch of salt and adopt the 'live and let live' attitude. Seems best to me.

It does indeed come down to morality. Totally. Which ever group you fall into there will be good and bad in every group. Christians have dodgy ones ( some Catholic priests being kiddy-fidlers etc etc ), and so do Pagans ( my attackers were Pagan ), which is why I fall to the white. I try to be one of the good guys. I may not get it right all the time, but at least I try.

So, I have a faith that has helped me recover from those injuries that I discovered during the infliction of those injuries. It involves introspection which is a standard counselling tool, as well as eating well, looking after friends and loved ones, being a good person, and simply doing the best I can. I can't see anything wrong with that at all. And it's worked for me. And the introspection is all recorded and is down to self-analysis. A tool used by trained professional counsellors to great effect. Nothing dodgy there then.

Re: Alien visitation...

Let me ask you this...

If an alien race actually did land, would we be foolish to keep believing what we think 'works for us'?

Or would we accept reality?

Re: Alien visitation...

I would accept reality. It's real and in front of me, and just confirms how very complex and interesting creation really is. Which would make 'the creator' even more impressive. But my faith allows for that. A more stringent faith may not. God created man and there are no aliens etc etc. Then aliens show up and say w3rd. I doubt I'll be the one say 'oh eck, my doctrine'. Some more stringent, or extreme, faiths may well have to sit down and have a think though.

But that's faith. No-one knows if they are right or wrong to the end. Hence stepping out and into the simpler 'good and evil' bit.

At what cost would you accept it? part 1

ChristheGoth writes: 'I would accept reality.'

Luke 14:33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

And just as you admitted that you would give up your beliefs if the aliens landed, He tells us to leave all of our 'treasure' and listen to Him. He tells us to follow Him.

Our most prized treasure is our philosophy. It is the thing we don't want anyone messing with. It is deeply personal...

It's mine hear? Mine! mine! mine!

And within that larger treasure are all kinds of smaller treasures like sensuality and lust. Fame, power, and fortune.

"Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. ( Mark 10: 21-22)

What are the philosophies and the real treasures of the world?

And for the sake of arguement in a hypothetical situation, what would happen if Jesus Christ did come again?

Revelation 18:9 "When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. 10 Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: "'Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!' 11 "The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes any more-- 12 cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; 13 cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and bodies and souls of men. 14 "They will say, 'The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your riches and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.' 15 The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn 16 and cry out:

At what cost would you accept it? part 2

"'Woe! Woe, O great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls! 17 In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!' "Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. 18 When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, 'Was there ever a city like this great city?' 19 They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: "'Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin! 20 Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you.'" 21 Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: "With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again. 22 The music of harpists and musicians, flute players and trumpeters, will never be heard in you again. No workman of any trade will ever be found in you again. The sound of a millstone will never be heard in you again. 23 The light of a lamp will never shine in you again. The voice of bridegroom and bride will never be heard in you again. Your merchants were the world's great men. By your magic spell all the nations were led astray. 24 In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who have been killed on the earth."

How will these good pagans, child molesting priests and christian charlatans, hindu's, buhddists, defend themselves against Him? Would they tell Him of all the good things they had done.

Would they tell Him of their wisdom?

ChristheGoth writes: "No-one knows if they are right or wrong to the end."

Do you know that?
Or is that your 'treasured' faith?

Would you stake your soul on that being right, and propogate that lie and corrupt others for your own good nights sleep?

Or are you unwittingly a sorcerer for things you do not understand?

That's why I left my past and it's suposed 'magic'.

You do what you think is right for you. I do my best (though I often fail) to do what is right for everyone.

And for this I am labeled, excluded, and ridiculed as an offender?

We're testing ideas and philosophies Chris...


I thought this world was ours, I didn't realize that I was endangering what was yours.

I have said a great deal in the last week. And you have perceived very little of it. But that is my fault really, because I am not answering your questions. I am preaching.

But if you ever want to ask the questions, the answers have always been there. They are not my ideas. It is an idea (spirit) that found me. I just remember that I wasn't looking for it at the time either, so preaching has some value as well.

He suprised me...

Re: At what cost would you accept it? part 2

Sorry, you're losing me now. Re my question. Was that a yes or a no? Is the only path to salvation through Christianity? Or are Hindu's etc etc fine as well?

Is Jesus the only way?

Would it be blasphemy to say "no... Hindus etc etc are not ok"? Would they somehow be offended and threatened?

6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." 8 Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." 9 Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?

63 But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." 64 "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.

1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." 3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." 4 "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" 5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." 9 "How can this be?" Nicodemus asked. 10 "You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things?

11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

13 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Re: Is Jesus the only way?

So that's a no?

Is that a no? (Anonymous) Expand
  • 1

Log in

No account? Create an account