So, it turns out, even if there IS lots of water in a solar system, that doesn’t add up to habitability either. Talk about Rare Earth and Privileged Planet.
From their results: More likely is that many of the planets orbiting M-dwarf stars to have very thin or possible no atmospheres. In both cases, life forming in such systems appears less likely than previously believed.
He ends with, “The ancient question ‘Are we alone?’ has graduated from being a philosophical musing to a testable hypothesis. We should be prepared for an answer.” It’s worth asking another question: What if, after decades of research, no answer comes? What would that change?
The fundamental problem is still the same: It is very difficult to extrapolate from a sample of one instance of life. Suppose we had information on tens of thousands of exoplanets, thousands of which had life. Making the reasonable assumption that a pattern develops within this data, we could then give fairly reliable odds on a given planet having life if its relevant data are known. But we don’t have any of this. It’s all a dreamscape.
He goes through the usual potted history of life on Earth, omitting (they always do) to notice that the human mind is a quite different sort of development than, say, sexual reproduction or flight. It’s the mind that prompts us to even ask questions about ET, yet no one has any idea what consciousness even is.
Wherever you thought you were on that planet, you would soon be somewhere else. But it’s not really anywhere, is it? Advice: Stay home on solid Earth.
Some say it’s time to consider the zoo hypothesis: “They can see us but we can’t see them. The idea revisits a theory proposed in 1973 by radio astronomer John Ball: Ball went further, proposing that we may live in a metaphorical zoo — a kind of cosmic Eden. The aliens of the galaxy have […]
Yeah. Sure. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that it was orthodox science media (Scientific American, we are looking at you… ) who were marketing the space alien thing, not some crackpot in a tinfoil hat. And yet the same people have the nerve to sponsor reams of stuff on why “people” believe in pseudoscience.
If we discover life on Mars and it turns out to be a lot like life on Earth, as Davies suggests, will that be experienced as an achievement or a disappointment? It certainly won’t prove anything like what some have hoped. Heck, it won’t even prove that We Are NOT Alone…
We invent explanations for not seeing the trash, quite apart from the fact that we have never seen the aliens. There, you stupid peasant, that’s real science thinking for you.
This means that the search for extraterrestrial life should focus on planets with strong magnetic fields. Meanwhile, why is it that a thousand coincidences pointing in the same direction never seem to add up to a pattern, just something to explain away?
Was it Hugh Ross who said that if we find fossilized life on Mars, chances are, it’ll have come from Earth? That’s at least possible if life started very early when the planets were not as firm. But how frustrating for those looking for genuine non-Earth life…
In one suggested version, they might be out there but we are not smart enough to recognize them.
Okay but now one question: If none of those 47 planets has life, does that count as evidence against the proposition that “We Are Not Alone”? Does anything count as evidence against the proposition?
Hmmm. In the real world, when you are an only child so far as you know, it is hard to compare yourself to your siblings. Few readily accept criticism for failure to measure up to the standards of imaginary beings.