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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.
|| Reverse Sort
| A Terrible Waste Of Space ||Dec 9th. at 7:00:05 am UTC|
|Trish Telesco (Western NY) ||Age: 42 - Email - Web|
I'm with Carl Sagan who felt that if there were no other life out there in the vast stellar sea it would, indeed, be a terrible waste of good space! My main caution in talking about this topic is that we cannot simply define life by our terms when we think in terms of the Universe. Every day science discovers another life form living in areas previously thought impossible, which tells me there's a lot more to "life" than we currently understand or define.
As to the character of such life - some would be intelligent, some plant matter, etc. Those with intelligence may or may not have allready traveled the stars (but if they came this way I suspect they decided it a "no fly zone" because of some of our backward ways LOL). Alternatively perhaps they chose to seed our society periodically with ideas and innovations (which would certainly go far to explain the huge leaps in human awareness at times like the renaissance).
Would it change our religious views ?? I doubt neopagans would be shaken because we already embrace diversity. However, fundamentalists would have to examine their ideas about God in a whole new way (after all, the Bible says nothing about Jesus visiting other worlds!!) NO matter when it happens, I believe that our first encounter with any alien life form will change our sense of reality forever (and hopefully for the better). Humans would have to take the step toward a cosmic mindset that no longer has the comfort or ego boost of saying "we are alone"
| No, Why Would We Think We Are So Special In The Universe? ||Dec 9th. at 7:29:30 am UTC|
|Silver-Rain Panther (Scotland) ||Age: 14 - Email |
No, I don't think we are alone in the universe. I think that if we live on this planet, why couldn't an alien race have been created on another? I think we are unique in one way or another, just like one individual is different from another. I belive that we will meet them someday, and if is them that make first contact, then it will be in the next hundred years or so, but if it us that make first contact then it will be along way off. I think the world would change dramaticaly, views would change. I find it hard to belive that alien culture couldn't have had religion, even if they do not have it now. I think some religions would change, others would disapear. It all depends on how....I want to say felixible, but that just sounds bad. How non strict the faith is.
| One Might Never Know ||Dec 9th. at 9:08:26 am UTC|
|Earik Hearthweary (Grand Rapids, MI) ||Age: 30 - Email |
My personal belief is that we are not alone and that we have been visited. It makes sense to me that we are not alone because our own existence is a fluke of the statistical chances of our evolution even given the time life is suspected to have been here. Given this, there must be either some driving principle or force (refered to by many different people differently) making sure we go in the right direction. If this essence is making sure that we do alright, why not all the rest of the vastness of space? The reason that I think that we've been visited is that we've come so far in 300 years and some cultures must have been developed 300,000 years ago. If they were to increase their technology like ours and only improve faster and faster, they would be able to do things we have no concept of technologically. In my mind that means recognizing the power of the mind (both will and creative power). Essentially mastering magick to the point that none have seen or known. Probably kind of hard to find unless they want you too, eh? This is all just my opinion and may only make sense in my eyes, but it looks good from here.
| Of Course ||Dec 9th. at 12:22:23 pm UTC|
I do believe that there is life out there on other planets. I think that there are many, many different stages of life spanning the entire universe. Sometimes I think that maybe good old Earth is kind of like how Douglous Adams talked about it, a back water that is so far away from all the others... but I bet there are a lot of other backwaters, too.
As for aliens coming to visit, I don't think it has happened yet. I had a science teacher who explained it in a way that made sense. Here we are, an average yellow sun in an average galaxy. No one realizes we're here, so why would they come all the way out here unless it was an acciedent? There are so many more interesting things in the universe to see. Until our signals reach out far enough, then we're pretty much just a boaring vacation spot. Then again, you never know when an accendent is going to happen, right?
| Life ||Dec 9th. at 1:09:02 pm UTC|
|martok (wyoming) ||Age: 20 - Email |
There is about 10 billion stars in our own solar system and about 5 billion known galaxies containing billions of stars. Weve found over 100 planets orbiting other stars, even thought these planets a 1-4 time the size of jupiter, but from that distane thats about all we can detect, is all these possibilites there has to be other forms of life out there
| We Are The Aliens... ||Dec 9th. at 1:47:37 pm UTC|
|Marsha-Gail Henderson (Phoenix, Arizona) ||Age: 48 - Email |
My own personal view probably was molded when I read and saw the film "Chariots of the Gods"...there is so much mythology and ancient civilization beliefs in visitors from outer space, that I believe (Yes) we have been visited. There are renaissance paintings with space craft in the skies...(prior to the airplane)...since Leonardo Da Vinci did think up the helicopter, but it was not yet invented.
I think that the missing link that anthopoligist's keep searching for is alien. Man's sudden leap in from neanderthal to man to man as we know him...stories of the gods who came down and slept with the daughters of man, and created a giant race...(that is in genesis)...right before the flood story.
Anyway - yes I am a big believer in life everywhere...(why would the God and Goddess limit life to just this world)? It would not change my religious beliefs since mine are of this earth and seasonal and all gods and all goddesses are the one infinite balance of masculine and feminine...
It would be interesting to know what their faiths are based on...maybe the rotation of their planet and their seasons...maybe similar in concept...maybe not.
Blessings to all...(Marsha/Noel Etoile*)
| It'd Be A Terrible Waste Of Space If We're Alone ||Dec 9th. at 3:09:19 pm UTC|
|GabrielHawk (Memphis, TN) ||Age: 20 - Email |
The Universe is billions of light-years across and deep. In it are thousands of galaxies each with billions of stars. Each star has a chance of making a planet, each planet has a chance of making life, and each life form has the capapblitiy to eventually evolve(sp?) to our level and beyond. One scientist says that life is simply a fluke, and that our life is alone. Out of the 6 billion people living on this planet, how many "flukes" have appeared? How many siamese twins, how many people w/ chemical imbalances in their heads, just to name a couple? Even if live is a fluke, and I don't believe it is, there's still a very good chance for it. I believe that they are visiting us and trying to see what we are doing and how we are coming along. They are studying us, which in an odd sense would explain why they haven't just come down and said "hi" yet. Firstly, they want an acurate picture of us as we are, and joining us would negate that. Secondly, they need to learn how to approach us, while causing the least amount of fear and retribution (people tend to attack what they fear). It's also possible that the violence we show to one another is putting them off, but one day they will come and say hi, and hopefully very soon. (My dream of being an astronaut hasn't gone away, and my eyes are too bad to actually try to join NASA.)
I'm fairly sure that many fundamentalist Christians would be threatened by the arrival of aliens, as that apparently threatens the belief that we are God's special and only Children. Though, not all, as my Southern Baptist Sci-Fi nut friend once said, "there's nothing in the Bible about God not creating other worlds and other people. Maybe not in His image, but they could look just like us." I don't see why most other religions would be so surprised at the idea of life elsewhere. They may have religion, or at least be very spiritual. Maybe they think that technology and scientific knowledge is not the be all end all, or maybe they think that our knowledge of science is off.
There was a show on the Discovery channel months ago about a scientist, I believe he worked for SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence), who had created a formula for figuring out how many civilizations are probably out there for SETI to be able to pick up, (one of the factors included surviving the technological boon that we're at) and his solution came out to 10,000 and I belive that was in our galaxy alone.
Wow, that's a longer answer than I planned but I've been studying this question for years, and I still don't know everything about it. There's a lot more in Ufology and Astronomy than some seem to think.
| DOUBTFUL, I THINK :) ||Dec 9th. at 3:45:37 pm UTC|
|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 UTC|
|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?"
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| We Are Alone... ||Dec 9th. at 4:59:54 pm UTC|
|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 UTC|
|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 UTC|
|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...
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