Instead of meaningless? How exactly did we get from “Alone” to “Meaningless” via eloquence from tenured pundits? Where do we buy return tickets?
A blogging neurologist asks this obvious question. From Steven Novella at The Ness:
Until, however, we detect actual aliens or their signals, the rest of the factors in the equation are likely to remain a mystery. Put simply – we have a sample size of one. We don’t know how likely life is to develop intelligence, and intelligence technology, and how long such civilizations tend to last. We won’t know until we encounter evidence of aliens.
And, if there are few or no other aliens out there, we will never know the full answer. We would only have increasingly negative evidence and the sense that we are alone.
This does not have to be a depressing thought, however, although it would be disappointing…
If we are the beneficiaries of a fantastically unlikely series of events, so unlikely that there is only one example in 2 trillion galaxies over billions of years, then we should take all the more care to value and preserve that civilization. More.
Novella is responding to a recent study of the 1961 Drake Equation (fill in the numbers yourself, aliens are everywhere) in light of actual study of exoplanets, which concluded, don’t wait up for the extraterrestrials. The Drake Equation was popularized by Carl Sagan (1934–1996) , among others.
See also: SETI reacts to the new study that says not to wait up for extraterrestrials
Researchers: We have dissolved the Fermi Paradox!