So just how likely is it that there is life on other planets? - Opinion

      Home » Current events and news » So just how likely is it that there is life on other planets? - Opinion

So just how likely is it that there is life on other planets? - Opinion

Often I read the assumption that there is life on other planets and we just have to find it as fact, yet its not a fact, and there is no evidence to assume it is.

Firstly our definition of 'life' has over time been reduced from 'beings like is' to 'microbes'. As we find out more about our dead universe we reduce the goal of finding life to something such as microbes, that just might be found. Once we thought bipedal Martians lived on Mars, now we hope that microbes do.

So if life is out there, what would it be like?

There is life in Space argument

As a technological species, we are newly developed. For the last 50 years we have had the ability to look closely at space yet we live in an ancient universe where life may have existed for billions of years before us.

Assuming the age of the universe is 14 Billion years, life itself might have existed for at least 2-4 billion years before now. We can't even conceive what our technological development might achieve in that amount of time, just as we can't imagine what a technological advanced culture would look like after 1 billion years.

Its a fallacy to think that other lifeforms will have the same, or similar, start time, and development time to earth. Even if another planet reached our level of development a mere 1 million years earlier than earth it is a stupendous amount of development ahead of us.

If life exists, as we know it, we are not the pinnacle of planetary development, we can't be, if there is life out there then its sentient, and very old, which leads to being very advanced.

Based on the 'there are heaps of life bearing planets out there' hypothesis, the universe must be swarming in life from ancient lifeforms, very ancient lifeforms, super advanced lifeforms (if our planet is an example), super-technologically advanced lifeforms, millions or billions of years older than us.

Reality is not Star Wars or Star Trek, if life is out there we must be like gnats to it. Not a bunch of equivalent bipedal Klingon's, or a Galactic empire. We are human centered beings but if life is out there it would be very different.

There is no life in Space argument

Yet, to take the opposite tack, in this ancient universe, we haven't even a single piece of evidence of life outside of this small planet. Nothing, nada, zilch. Not even microbes, which we seem to have reduced ourselves looking for because 'real' lifeforms are obviously missing.

The evidence is so missing that we now pretend to be happy if we can find microbes as evidence of life. Yet even if we find microbes in the oceans of Europa, so what? We leave Earth to find microbes?

So if there is life in the universe, its common, ancient and advanced, and would have found us. If there is not life around us, and the evidence is that there is not, then there is no life elsewhere.

So why do we believe in life in Space so easily? We are enmeshed in the social and mythological stories of our society. Bought up to assume life exists outside our planet from science fiction and common culture.

But if we look at it objectively, and try to strip out the mythos, we see how improbable it actually is.

Our socially popular view of space and the universe is similar to the Greeks pantheons of Gods that controlled the world. They totally believed in Gods ruling the universe, we believe in life on other planets being like us. There is no evidence for either belief.

Great debate on the topic here
By netchicken: posted on 28-11-2009

Apparently I am not the only person to think of this argument of ancient advanced civilizations in the universe. (there goes my Nobel Prize).

Our 4.5 billion-year old Solar System exits in a universe that is estimated to be between 13.5 and 14 billion years old. Experts believe that there could be advanced civilizations out there that have existed for 1.8 gigayears (one gigayear = one billion years).

The odds of there being only one single planet that evolved life among all that unfathomable vastness seems so incredible that it is all but completely irrational to believe. But then "where are they?" asked physicist Enrico Fermi while having lunch with his colleagues in 1950.

Fermi reasoned, if there are other advanced extraterrestrial civilizations, then why is there no evidence of such, like spacecraft or probes floating around the Milky Way. His question became famously known as the Fermi Paradox. The paradox is the contradiction between the high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and yet the lack of evidence for, or contact with, any such civilizations.

Given the extreme age of the universe, and its vast number of stars, if planets like Earth are at all typical, then there should be many advanced extraterrestrial civilizations out there, and at least a few in our own Milky Way. Another closely related question is the Great Silence, which poses the question: Even if space travel is too difficult, if life is out there, why don't we at least detect some sign of civilization like radio transmissions?
By netchicken: posted on 29-11-2009

So just how likely is it that there is life on other planets? - Opinion | [Login ]
Powered by XMB
Privacy Policy