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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 88 - 12/8/2002
Are We Alone in The Universe?
Is this Earth the only planet inhabited with intelligent life? (Yeah. I wonder about that "intelligent" part sometimes, too!) Is Life a fluke? Are we unique? If there are other life forms out there, do you think that we shall ever meet them? How far into the future might that happen? Will they find us or will we find them first?
Do you think that the discovery of inhabitants on other planets would change our world view? How would the existence of aliens affect the religions of this world? Do you think such a concept as "religion" might also be found on other worlds?
Have we already been visited by beings from other planets? If an alien did come calling, what might you show him/her/it about life on planet Earth? Would you like to travel to another planet?
| Reponses: There are 67 responses posted to this question.
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| DOUBTFUL, I THINK :) ||Dec 9th. at 3:45:37 pm EST|
|Moon (New York) ||Age: 41 - Email |
There has to be other life out there. Although it it scary to think what types of life it may be, I believe it is true.
| Extrasolar Life? ||Dec 9th. at 4:09:19 pm EST|
|Vanessa (Michigan) ||Age: 16 - Email - Web|
Well, there are in fact over 100 planets outside of our solar system (the system of nine planets and one star called "Sol" that we belong to) and scientists have actually brought it down to the simpe fact that to have life, the temperature must be about 300K (Kalvin). A planet inhabited with life would most likely be somewhat like Earth int aht it would contain Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, and the such. So, yes, I by far believe that there is life out there. You know how that saying "a needle in a haystack"? Well, finding the actual life and proof of it is more like taking Uranium and trying to pinpoint an electron and then finding that same electron a little later on. Trust me it's hard and you most likely will never be able to prove that you actually did it. This is what the search for life on other planets is like. What is the planet most like Earth outside of our Solar Sytem? A rather large planet in the 55 Cancri system. We know where it is, how big it is, how long a day is, what the surface probably looks like, but can we reach out there and see if there are "people" looking back? Absolutely not. We do have the resources nor pure desire to do such a thing. It takes a lifetime to get there and the risk factor is way too high. And what would be do if we actually found out? Would we come home and tell these scientist and government represents sitting on their pedestals so that they can lie to us repeatedly or destroy the beliefs that this extrasolar society has? Would that be morally right? Would that be "humane?"
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| We Are Alone... ||Dec 9th. at 4:59:54 pm EST|
|Keith (Bay Area) ||Age: 19 - Email |
There is no possible way that there is any other life out there.
Its hard to explain this but it is very true. Something created us, us is the universe. It is all just an illusion.
Lets say for example a species in the universe makes contact with us... the language spoken would be of mathematics, the language of God. They would have to have come up with the same conclusion as we have, not in the sense of a religion, but the unity with God.
This is an imposibility, however. The only way there could be any other life form would be if animals on our world could comunicate with us. If animals on earth had the same feeling of "I" as humans possess then perhaps there could be a life form in the universe.
If you study the planets, the stars, you see certain paterns... knowledge of the science of alchemy allows you to look at the entire universe, even religions, and see the formula of God.
I find it extreamly hard to believe that everything has happened by chance for no good reason, because everything has happened by chance.
I fear what happens to those who are not in unity with God, for example those people who follow a religion.
| A Galexy _Saturated_ With Intelligent Life ||Dec 9th. at 6:28:14 pm EST|
|Aedh Rua UiMhorrighu (New Richmond, WI) ||Age: 37 - Email |
A few years ago, I read an article in Analog about the likelihood of life in space, which looked at the question from a perspective I had never seen before. The article described a computer model which had been created to predict not only IF non-human civilizations could appear on other worlds, but also WHEN and WHERE they were likeliest to appear. The data used for this were composed of a mixture of the well-known physical parameters needed for the formation of life, and the statistical likelihood of the appearance of various evolutionary and, eventually, cultural traits, based on when they appeared on Earth. In other words, if modern humanity has been around for about 800,000 out of four billion years, then it was assumed that the chance of an intelligent race appearing on any given planet, where it could appear was essentially 800,000 out of 4 billion, or, roughly one in 5000. Given what we know about the ages of the stars in our galaxy, it was possible to use the statistical models to guess at when the first life would appear in the galexy, when it would become intelligent as we understand it, when it would industrialize, when it would venture into space, and then how fast interstellar civilizations would spread, depending on what technologies were possible.
The results were shocking.
Every time the model was run, the galaxy ended up completely filled with intelligent life, with every available planet colonized, _before our sun was even formed_. A number of variations were tried, including limiting colonization to sub-light speeds, and so on, and it made no difference. The galaxy was still saturated with life by about 5 billion years ago.
Well, now we have an answer to the Fermi paradox. Enrico Fermi, when asked if there was intelligent life in outer space, asked, "then where are they?" Answer? We don't know, but we would be very unlikely to recognize them if they DID appear. Such beings are so far beyond us as to be beyond our comprehension. For all we know, they could drift through our bodies like a mist of energy, learning all they need to know in a micro-second. They could manipulate us as they wished, shape our dreams, be our Gods, with no effort at all, and no need to ride in UFOs. Or they might ignore us, as we destroy ourselves. Or destroy us for any reason or none, as a child smashes ants. Or preserve our world for their study or mere amusement.
And, could you truly call such beings aliens? There could well be individuals among them who have been living unseen and unsuspected among the living things of Earth since long before humanity evolved. Who is more truly native to the Earth, our own petty and late-arriving race, or such a subtle and mighty being as that, who has perhaps shaped the world's life to suit him/her/it-self for tens or hundreds of millions of years?
UFOs? Genetic engineering by "Nordics"? Lemuria? Atlantis? Forget them. The true "aliens" need no such silly trappings. They are right with you now, just over your shoulder, yet you can't see them. They can hear your thoughts, and do with you as they will. They are s far beyond you as you are beyond a bacterium, yet as close as the blood in your veins.
Are they Gods? I don't know, but if not them, who?
| No Way. ||Dec 9th. at 8:28:52 pm EST|
|Tyler Ravelson (Massachusetts) ||Age: 15 - Email |
we cant be alone in the universe, cuz momma goddess wouldn't waste that much space. she also can't devote all her attention to us you know! i mean, think about all the creatures that exist on our world that only pagans and few pagans at that have documented... elves, fairies, brownies, gnomes.. the list goes on... no way could we be alone in the universe...
| Here's How I See It ||Dec 9th. at 8:47:04 pm EST|
|lilith (la ciudad de nuestra senora de los angeles) ||Age: 33 - Email |
so there is a mighty nuclear war and somehow the only two people on earth who survive are: me, because i just happened to be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time, and osama bin laden, who of course would survive nuclear war. now i dont know he is alive and out there, and he doesnt know i am alive and out there, which is probably a good thing. are we alone?
my answer to that is yes, we are. as far as i know, and as far as i will ever be able to tell in a world destroyed is that i am alone and have to fend for myself as best i can. meanwhile osama is alone too, and no doubt freaking because his particular reading of the koran never mentioned this. he is on his own as much as i am.
now of course literally we are not alone. we are two, not one. but to all intents and purposes we are alone. and if say osama died from some kind of massive karmic shock, i would REALLY be alone, but no more alone than i had been before.
so re: alien life-- i think we are alone, and if not we may as well be alone. i doubt there have been any alien visitations to our planet. i think its funny that historically speaking there is no thought of alien life and no record of sightings of flying objects or little green men or even tall slinky grey-green men until the advent of airplanes and giant bombs and movies starring little green men. when i look out at the sky i do not have a sense of other worlds out there.
having said that, i do feel there may be different dimensions, and in a true sense i think the human race's ideas about spirits and pixies and selkies and faeries and leprechauns and menehunes and sa-sa bonsam etc. may be a reflection of this. just because something is the Other does not necessarily make it the divine.
if an alien ever showed up i would probably want to know what kind of world they were from, what kind of values, do they have gender or race, do they have an obsession with land or space or money, and if so i would say hey, look around you, is this what you want? if the alien was not that kind of being i would have to invite him/her/it to see the redwood forests before they are gone for good. i would like to think an alien race might have some legend in their history of a mystical place that was once the most beautiful thing in the world.
| Do You Realize How Simple Minded Would Half To Be... ||Dec 9th. at 9:47:31 pm EST|
|raven moonstar (texas) ||Age: 35 - Email |
For me to think that there was not only intelligent but, also more advanced life in the universa I would have to be very simple minded indeed!!!
| Statistics, Bah! ||Dec 9th. at 9:59:53 pm EST|
|Jo (Sydney, Australia) ||Age: 26 - Email |
Given the size and complexity of the universe, yes and no
It seems that most people have a genuine belief that alien life must exist AND it will be recognisable to us AND is probably watching us from a viewpoint of an advanced technology. Why? Just because the statistical probability supports the notion of other life, and it does, where do these statistics support that they will
1. Evolve in the same time span as us
2. Evolve at a distance close enough to us for contact
3. Be at an advanced enough stage or capable of inter-galactic travel. They could be less advanced.
4. Be recognisable to us. We already know that life just on Earth is incredibly varied, add the rest of universe into the mix and life could be anything.
5. Be intelligent.
Even if the above points were favourable,
6. Would they be bothered to look? They may have other priorities
7. If they looked would they necessarily be interested in us. There may be other more interesting things to look at.
8. If they looked would they be bothered to communicate. After all not many of us have taken the time to try and actually communicate with bacteria.
It all boils down to, no we are not likely to be alone in the universe, but we effectively are as it is incredibly unlikely that we will ever bump into one another.
And if we do I for one will say “wow what was the likelihood of that happening!” and invite them in for tea, because if they have overcome all the other odds they are bound to drink tea right?
| Ahhhh, ||Dec 9th. at 11:06:29 pm EST|
|Titania T. Moonfoster (Wisconsin) ||Age: 20 - Email |
the conceit of mankind. Are we alone in the universe? we may be, but i find it highly improbable. there are too many sightings, ancient and modern, that give examples of alien visitation. But there are views, like some of the others that have been posted, that question what the definition of alone is. What it all trickles down to, is when a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make asound? what is the sound of one hand clapping? these are questions that have no clear answer, or multiple answers that no one can agree with. the debate will only be answered when we have undeniable evidence that there are others who know who and where we are and are willing to work with us, or even try to take us to war. Then we will know the truth.
| No One Definate Answer.... ||Dec 10th. at 12:37:30 am EST|
|SunsetSeashell (Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia) ||Age: 24 - Email |
It really depends on what one means by "alone in the Universe"? I, for one, do not consider myself alone at all! I am surrounded my life in a myriad of forms and way everyday: human and non-human (non-human includes everything that isn't human: animal, vegatable, mineral, etc). As for outside this planet - we are still not alone! There are life forms of various kinds on the other planets within our own system.... so of course we aren't alone.
Then again, if your definition of "alone in the Universe" includes other life LIKE us humans then within our own Universe/System we are alone however I really really doubt that outside our System of Planets/Our Universe that another form of "human" (if you can call it that) does _not_ exist. What I am saying is that the Universe outside our own is infinate and seems never-ending.... because it is so damn huge you cannot tell me we are alone.
To Each Their Own in the end.
| Yes, I Do! ||Dec 10th. at 9:40:44 am EST|
|Avalonskye (Georgia) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I believe that there is other life on planets not located in this vast place that we call space...I don't think that there are aliens, just simple lifeforms like you and me who could exsist in atmospheres that we can't...
| No! ||Dec 10th. at 11:40:54 am EST|
|Raven Feather (United States) ||Age: 20 - Email |
In a word, "No!" We are not alone in the universe. To suggest otherwise would seem to me to be both foolish and arrogant. Of course we are not alone in the universe, we are not the only children of the The All, nor are we the oldest or most evolved. We are mere fungus in an infinite living universe, and we should appreciate our less-than-supreme place in the grand scheme of things. Let's not ever make the mistake of thinking that everything revolves around us.
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