Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Are We Alone?

I think so, and some also scientists think "the universe might just be an 'awful waste of space' after all" — Alien Life May Be Rare Across the Universe. "It is dangerous to assume life is common across the universe," says Charles Cockell, Director of the U.K. Center for Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh. "It encourages people to think that not finding signs of life is a 'failure,' when in fact it would tell us a lot about the origins of life."

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Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

I am skeptical of claims that we are not alone at this point. I think it is possible that life exists elsewhere in the universe, but I don't think that there is any evidence beyond arguments from probability that there is life out there -- and the arguments from probability presume that life is purely materialistic & mechanistic process, a contention that is highly dubious.

Enrico Fermi once dealt with the question of life on other worlds by asking the question "where are they?" There may well be habitable planets elsewhere, but where is the evidence of life? And complex, intelligent life in particular?

Of course, as the article points out, life could be there but we just can't see it. That is possible. Also possible is the idea that we are the first intelligent species in the universe -- that for whatever reason, we are the first species in the universe to get smart enough and creative enough to look beyond our own world. Is that an arrogant assumption? Maybe, but after all, somebody has to be first. Why not us?

I certainly hope we are alone, or that we are first. If life on Earth is any pattern for what life in the universe is like (again, something of a dubious proposition but the safe approach for us to take), it probably would be very, very bad for us if a more technological civilization came and paid us a visit. We likely would be worse off than the Indians who saw the first Spanish ships on the horizon.

March 13, 2013 at 12:17 AM  
Blogger Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

These days, when I hear the contention that if we're all alone, then the rest of the universe is a waste of space, my counter-thought is always, "Wait, what? Do you think the universe is somehow a strain on God's resources? That it would be a strain to create an entire universe like ours for each of us?

March 18, 2013 at 10:18 PM  

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