I was asked to define my littlest blog for a “deep” search engine group, Feedmil, and replied as follows:
Colliding Universes takes a critical look at cosmology, especially its many unexplained assumptions. Here’s one:
Earth is not special. There must be many planets that host life forms.
Now, what if we find 3000 exoplanets and none host life forms?
Does that suggest that Earth is special?
No, many cosmologists would say. We just haven’t looked hard enough. Find 3000 more.
It becomes obvious that their research is intended to confirm the “not special” view, and that – for both practical and philosophical reasons – it cannot be disconfirmed.
The practical reason is that they can always argue, “They’re out there somewhere.” The philosophical reason is that they are determined to believe what they want to believe.
That’s fine, but don’t call it science.
Incidentally, even if, after a search of 6000, two other planets were found that had life forms, we would know that there are three special planets, ours being one.
But don’t expect the pop science media to interpret it that way.
Also just up at Colliding Universes, my blog on competing theories of our universe:
Extraterrestrial life: Immanuel Kant, meet Frank Drake and Carl Sagan
Recession? Finally, big science gets the picture: Think payload
Conference: Quantum to Cosmos Festival
Time and space: Can we cure everything by advanced technology?