Exoplanets Extraterrestrial life Intelligent Design

Astronomer: I think aliens are out there but sightings claims aren’t persuasive

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A voice of sanity:

Astronomers have discovered over 4,000 exoplanets, or planets orbiting other stars, a number that doubles every two years. Some of these exoplanets are considered habitable, since they are close to the Earth’s mass and at the right distance from their stars to have water on their surfaces. The nearest of these habitable planets are less than 20 light years away, in our cosmic “back yard.” Extrapolating from these results leads to a projection of 300 million habitable worlds in our galaxy. Each of these Earth-like planets is a potential biological experiment, and there have been billions of years since they formed for life to develop and for intelligence and technology to emerge.

Astronomers are very confident there is life beyond the Earth. As astronomer and ace exoplanet-hunter Geoff Marcy, puts it, “The universe is apparently bulging at the seams with the ingredients of biology.” There are many steps in the progression from Earths with suitable conditions for life to intelligent aliens hopping from star to star. Astronomers use the Drake Equation to estimate the number of technological alien civilizations in our galaxy. There are many uncertainties in the Drake Equation, but interpreting it in the light of recent exoplanet discoveries makes it very unlikely that we are the only, or the first, advanced civilization.

This confidence has fueled an active search for intelligent life, which has been unsuccessful so far. So researchers have recast the question “Are we alone?” to “Where are they?”

Chris Impey, “I’m an astronomer and I think aliens may be out there – but UFO sightings aren’t persuasive” at The Conversation

The reason sightings claims aren’t persuasive is that so many of the people who make them seem to need something like that to happen in their lives. It’s not like you were harvesting tonnes of potatoes in Prince Edward Island and suddenly aliens appear and want you to read their ridiculous boilerplate to the United Nations … at the height of the potato harvest.

= Oh hell. Couldn’t they at least have picked someone else?

There may or may not be other intelligent life forms out there. As it happens, we may be in a position to get hard evidence in the next century. But there is no time when it more pays to be sceptical than a time when we could get genuine information. Or not.

Note: Prince Edward Island is an island province of Canada, famous for its potato crop.

3 Replies to “Astronomer: I think aliens are out there but sightings claims aren’t persuasive

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    The saddest thing about those “people who need something like this to happen” is that they’re unrealistic. They believe the demons in charge are starting wars and running holocausts because the demons are “clueless” about the consequences of their actions.

    “If only we could make them aware of the problem, they’d stop making wars and holocausts!!! The aliens are trying to tell us something we need to know!!!!”

    This is insufficiently paranoid, insufficiently realistic. Demons kill everyone because they ENJOY killing everyone. They know exactly what they’re doing. That’s WHY THEY DO IT.

    There isn’t any grand plan, and there certainly isn’t any lack of knowledge. It’s just an innate need.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    The problem for SETI, as I’m sure they’re well aware, is that EM radiation is too slow a medium for practical interstellar communications, at least for beings with our lifespans. We have to hope that there is some as yet undiscovered physics that will make much faster communications possible. Until then we’re stuck with listening hopefully for someone in the same boat we are calling out “Hello? Is there anyone there?”.

  3. 3
    BobRyan says:

    Our technological level does not allow for us to do anything more than watch. There is too much interference in space for a signal to be picked up. There is also the problem of distance. We know there is nothing close to Earth that we could detect, which means it is a waste of resources to listen from Earth. Colonize the moon and set up the posts on the dark side along with telescopes.

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