Sunday, March 06, 2011

Extraterrestrial Life?????????????????



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Short answer: no.


4:41 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Well, regardless of the kooks and their lame attempts at science, I've always wondered about this issue:

Do other people really think the smart money is on Earth harboring the only life in the universe?

I mean, seriously now. Doesn't that position kinda remind people of, oh, say Ancient Greece...or India...or China...or the history of any given civilization that's existed on this planet? Even when we were a mere few weeks' travel from one another (perilous though that travel may have been at the time), we always seem to think we're all there is until we find another group of people.

Or another continent full of people.

Or another planet full of people.

I've gotta say, my guess is that the probability of this planet being the only planet on which life thrives in the entire universe is near zero.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's not a scientifically falsifiable question. First: the universe is a pretty big place; most of it is not observable except at galactic scales. So any (hypothetical) life outside our galaxy is most likely going to remain undiscovered.

Within the galaxy, we can resolve planets at only 10s of lightyears, and only the largest planets are resolvable at that distance. To increase resolution to 100 light-years and earth-size planets, we need ~10000x better resolution. That means detection units the size of the entire earth. (Possible, but not likely.)

So the real questions are:
Is there ET life within ~20 LY?
Is there ET intelligent life within ~1000 LY? For the latter, at least, signs so far point to no.

Oh yes, there is one more falsifiable question: is there a potentially habitable planet within traveling distance, and will mankind get there before going extinct? Of course, it's only falsifiable by other species than man...


1:51 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:51 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...


'Falsifiable' in this context generally means 'falsifiable in principle,' not 'falsifiable in practice'/'falsifiable given current theories and technologies.'

So all the hypotheses on the table here are falsifiable in the relevant sense.

Not that I'm committing myself to falsificationism...

6:53 AM  

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