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Charles Krauthammer: “Intelligence may be the most cursed faculty in the entire universe”


In “Are we alone in the universe?” (Washington Post, December 29, 2011), Charles Krauthammer observes that despite the Drake equation and endless pop science hype, the space aliens are just so maddeningly not there. He adopts Carl Sagan’s explanation,

Carl Sagan (among others) thought that the answer is to be found, tragically, in the final variable: the high probability that advanced civilizations destroy themselves.

In other words, this silent universe is conveying not a flattering lesson about our uniqueness but a tragic story about our destiny. It is telling us that intelligence may be the most cursed faculty in the entire universe — an endowment not just ultimately fatal but, on the scale of cosmic time, nearly instantly so.

This is not mere theory. Look around. On the very day that astronomers rejoiced at the discovery of the two Earth-size planets, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity urged two leading scientific journals not to publish details of lab experiments that had created a lethal and highly transmittable form of bird flu virus, lest that fateful knowledge fall into the wrong hands.

Okay, but does it count for something that thousands of imminent doomsdays later, we are still here? And the space aliens are not? When does a rational assessment of that kind of thing begin to be possible?

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Like most everything else this Krauthammer says its just a waste of thought. The universe is empty because it was made for mankind to fill. Only people made in the image of God were put on earth. We are intelligent only because of being in gods image. There can't be intelligent life without this. The natural world or our brain has no intelligence. Just minor machinery and memory. It is more likely that since man was to live forever in this universe and so breed endlessly that the size of the universe just would barely fit our increase. The universe is exactly what it is. Room to rent. One is looking at the original eternity when looking to the stars. Robert Byers
What would be more depressing than never discovering alien civilizations would be to make contact with one and then, after a period of communications, learn that it destroyed itself or was destroyed by nature. That would be surreally sad. Collin
Although I have not assessed the evidence for crop circles, I do think that the evidence for extra terrestrial life visiting earth is stronger than most people realize. Collin
It's quite amusing to me, as I have mentioned several times already, that people are having these intense discussions about whether there is other intelligent life in the universe, when the evidence that there is and that it has been communicating with us for decades is right under our noses. However, it seems that most people simply can't see what doesn't fit their paradigm. I refer, of course, to crop circles, which (other than the fakes, which are relatively few compared to the 10,000 that have been reported worldwide since the 1980s) cannot have been produced by any known human technological capability, are clearly designed, and appear to be trying to tell us something. Bruce David
Bizarre isn't it - the world's desperate not to be alone, and equally desperate not to find God out there. In the meantime, being so alone in a silent Universe, we're worried sick about overpopulation. "Intelligence might be the most bloody-minded faculty in the entire Universe." Jon Garvey

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