From MacGregor Campbell at at New Scientist:
We are used to thinking small when it comes to alien life. Our list of living worlds has a sole data point, Earth, and even our convivial planet seems to have been a tricky place for life to get started. How could we expect more than a self-replicating bag of biomolecules anywhere else?
That might be too lofty a view of Earth. After all, huge areas of our planet, including the poles and deserts, are rather barren. And whole epochs of time were inhospitable to life. More.
So, of course, “There should be worlds out there so balmy they make Earth look stale, and there are signs of one just four light years away.”
Keep in mind that many “sciencey” people actually believe and set store by this kind of stuff. It gives meaning to their lives. And they help shape public policy too.
See also: Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.
How do we grapple with the idea that ET might not be out there?
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