Another common argument is that the universe is so vast there just has to be life out there somewhere. But what does that statement mean? If we restrict attention to the observable universe there are probably 1023 planets. Yes, that’s a big number. But it is dwarfed by the odds against forming even simple organic molecules by random chance alone. If the pathway from chemistry to biology is long and complicated, it may well be that less than one in a trillion trillion planets ever spawns life.
Affirmations that life is widespread are founded on a tacit assumption that biology is not the upshot of random chemical reactions, but the product of some sort of directional self-organization that favors the living state over others—a sort of life principle at work in nature. There may be such a principle, but if so we have found no evidence for it yet.More.
It’s astonishing, when we think about it.
We have no evidence for life apart from Earth. Yet the affirmation that it is true is somehow “science.” And, to doubt (whatever the state of the evidence) feels, to popular culture, to be “anti-science.” Spilt metaphysics underlies that.
See also: How do we grapple with the idea that ET might not be out there?
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