CHR1S (10th January 2014)
There is a problem for the theory that other intelligent life exists summed up by the Fermi Paradox. And the more likely you think life is, the more difficult it becomes to explain why we don't see any evidence of it.
Seriously though, the likelihood of sentient life evolving from the primordial matter of the universe is a big deal. It may be soooooo unlikely that by all rights even we shouldn't have made it, but we just got really really lucky with the chemistry and here we are. Of course, it seems inevitable to us because we are here asking the question, which couldn't be asked if we hadn't evolved in the first place. If we discovered there really is no other life you might ask "Just how did we end up on the only planet with life?", to which the answer is of course, no other planet could evolve a being capable of asking that question, so here we are (a bit like: of all the possible zygotic combinations from my parents' gametes, why did I end up me? Ans: only I can ask that question).
It's one possible and somewhat depressing conclusion of the Weak Anthropic Principle, but there is always the more optimistic Strong Anthropic Principle arguing that the conditions of our universe must be pre-disposed to evolving sentient life, otherwise we wouldn't be here to observe it ourselves. Gotta hope for life out there though, dontcha? I live in hope, but three score and ten doesn't give us much of a window to be in the generation that makes first contact.
Anthropic principle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Last edited by VeryPC; 10th January 2014 at 05:55 PM.
This is a brilliant topc!
Also a bit of a pet love of mine.
There's been a number of Horizon episodes that address a lot of the subject matter here (but of course don't give you the answers) these are:
Are We Alone in the Universe? - Series 44 episode 7
Do You Know What Time It Is? - S45 E5
Who's Afraid of a Big Black Hole? - S46 E4
Is Everything We Know About the Universe Wrong? - S46 E15 (just to add extra confusion)
What Happened Before the Big Bang? - S47 E3
How Big Is the Universe? - S49 E4
How Small Is the Universe? - S49 E5
That's a whole bunch of fantastically mind-boggling, wonderful sciency knowledge and a fine way to spend a weekend!
The more likely answer is if an alien race is capable of making interstellar trips, they are more then capable of wiping us out like a bug on a windshield so they can acquire the easily accessible source of water on our planet.
I'd like to think if there are any alien races out there capable of space travel, they have the technology to monitor our planet, too. Think of all the video games we have about wiping out alien invaders. Mass Effect, Halo, to name two of the bigger-name ones. And then there's movies and books on top of that! I don't blame them for not making contact
as to life out there. There had to be several generations of stars to make the higher elements needed that takes time. it might just be that we are the first intelligent life out there (something has to be). Even if there are others our search for life is basically a search for liquid water (and we keep finding that in odd places in our solar system) and that at distance is not the easiest thing to do its often hard enough to find a planet at all with current tech and we still cant directly observe them just infer their atmosphere via spectroctroscopy.
von neuman probe) colonize the entire galaxy.
Something has to be yes, but if that is the case, then think how improbable intelligent life is. The universe is already 13.8 billion years old with at least a hundred billion galaxies, each with an average hundred billion stars perhaps each of them with multiple orbiting planetary bodies. If we are the first, then intelligent life is extremely improbable and we might just be the last.as to life out there. There had to be several generations of stars to make the higher elements needed that takes time. it might just be that we are the first intelligent life out there (something has to be).
Water is (and should be) fairly common. What would be uncommon is free oxygen. We are starting to Image extra solar planets directly, but the only way to determine chemical composition of anything simply by looking at it (as opposed to seeing how it reacts chemically), is spectroscopy.Even if there are others our search for life is basically a search for liquid water (and we keep finding that in odd places in our solar system) and that at distance is not the easiest thing to do its often hard enough to find a planet at all with current tech and we still cant directly observe them just infer their atmosphere via spectroctroscopy.
I user to be much more confident that we would find life elsewhere than I am now. If we do, I don't expect it to be intelligent.
Last edited by jinnantonnixx; 13th January 2014 at 02:36 PM. Reason: Mistake made in timescales
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