The Presence of Life


Someone on another blog recently made this comment about potential life in the Universe …

[T]here are billions of planets, the likelihood that at least one will have conditions capable of giving rise to life is good. Indeed, the sheer enormity of numbers makes it highly probable.

Do you agree with this reasoning? Why or why not?

Just as an FYI, I do not agree. I feel life on this planet was a chance event. I do realize this is not the common thinking by some individuals of the scientific bent (as indicated in the above quote); however, considering the size and composition of the universe discovered thus far, I find it next-to-impossible that “life” —as we know it— is a common, or even an inevitable, occurrence.

There are those who have advanced the theory that “non-intelligent” life may be possible (I’m not going to touch that description), but as one source noted:  Observing signs of possible microbial life in exoplanet atmospheres is currently just out of reach. 

So I ask again … do you agree with the above-quoted comment? Why or why not? And if you agree, I hope you will offer some thoughts on whether you think the life might be humanoid … and if it is, does it know “God”??? 😈

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

155 thoughts on “The Presence of Life

  1. From the early daze ~ I feel the same way about extraterrestrial aliens visiting Earth as I do about angels and gods. If they exist and are good guys, they would be helping us. If they exist and are bad guys they would be screwing with us.

    It could be that they are just observing us, in which case, screw them, they are bad guys. If they are paying attention to what’s going on on planet earth, they are a sorry race for not helping. Come on, give us a bone here.

    It could be that they are screwing with us on a monstrous scale and we are not aware of it. If this were true, there would not be such an anarchistic society and Earth society would be living by their plan. If they could control the planet, they would control the planet.

    It could be that we are some sort of grand planetary societal experiment, in which case, screw them, they are bad guys. Their experiment sucks and is putting unnecessary and cruel hardship on sapient creatures. It is not possible for an advanced society to let a planet exist in such misery, sheesh, even some lowly humans have recognized the ethical treatment of creatures of lesser intelligence.

    Of course it could be that there are no angels, aliens or gods. This would go a long way explaining the situation we find ourselves in, here on planet Earth.

    As you can see, the inaction in every scenario significantly indicates that angels, aliens and gods do not exist.

    Unfortunately, this also means that if there are angels, aliens and gods, they are the bad guys. /

    As to the Rapture ~ Far the more likely thousands upon thousands of cavernous spacecraft, vast slaughter-houses piloted by ravenous vaguely reptilian creatures, replete with horns and folked tail, intent not as benevolent overseers of the demise of this world and our current iteration in human evolution and our children’s evolution onto the next iteration of humanity but as ravenous reptilian creatures… you know, hungry lizards.

    We did, afterall, invite them to “Come Eat!”

    Liked by 1 person

      • As I say, it was an early attempt at sarcasm, flying as well today as it did yesterday.

        I figure it’s like ‘knowing about god’, the universe like ‘god’ is too big for our insignificant minds to comprehend, and in our insignificant time will never know.

        Unless we wake something up on Europa. …

        Liked by 2 people

    • Excellent! My response to this question is that given by Prospero in the amazing Masque of the Red Death, in which he dismisses the possibility of a “good god”. My misotheism is showing, but Vincent Pricer’s simple statement “Someone, Something, rules in His place.” And this applies to aliens.

      Of course, maybe they all have a Start Trek non interference commandment? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not meaning to be pedantic, but when the size of the universe is taken into consideration ‘not common’ is such a vague term.
        How about a billion earth-like planets?
        Would that be regarded as common?
        I have no idea.
        What about 10 billion?

        Liked by 3 people

        • Picky … picky. Just accept that I don’t believe there is “life” on other planets in the known universe. Others (obviously) disagree. But that’s the whole idea of this post!! 😛

          Liked by 1 person

        • A physicist blogger I follow, Anton Petrov, did an interesting “calculation” of how likely it would be for proteins to fold themselves in the way necessary for life as we know it. The unlikelihood was magnitudes vastly larger than the projected number of planets. The life is common folks ignore how amazingly complicated life is. So…in the end, I am a rare…or exclusive…earth person.

          But what do I really know? what does ANYONE know. We cannot even assume that carbon based life that relies on complex proteins is the only or dominant form of life,. Look at the vast numbers of virus and even more “primitive” prions that cannot even easily be defined as “alive”?

          Liked by 3 people

  2. I agree with the statement and not even because of the numbers, but because we don’t know what life is.
    The possibility that what we call life or something like exists somewhere is highly probable.

    Liked by 3 people

        • So are you saying there’s a possibility that live viruses might exist on other planets? And if so, how would they ever be detected? When you consider humans on this planet are not even visible from higher altitudes, how would a microbe on another planet be detected?

          Liked by 1 person

        • No. I am saying we do not exactly know what life is and what to include in the definition of it. As such, there’s no reason to defend the position that that which we fully do not understand cannot exist anywhere else.

          Liked by 2 people

        • But a very accidental, potentially very rare, emergent property. Unless we believe there is some outside force that NECESSITATES such evolution, we cannot assume this to be a common, let alone universal force. I do agree with Mak though, we cannot even define what “life” is anyway.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it’s rare but I believe there is life way out there that’s has self awareness and instinct and the ability to evolve into achieving and growing intellectually to something sort of like us.

    Remember there are a gazillion of galaxies and even if there are none in our Milky Way or even our local group, there could still be millions out there.
    Also time frames are a factor. By the time we may be scientifically able to pick up really distant proof, that civilization would be long long gone. Same for us..someday a very advanced alien civilization, might pick up something of us, but by then, we would be long gone, and earth would perhaps, not be here any longer. The timing will perhaps make it so that no two or more intelligent civilizations are functioning at the same time..

    The distances are immense and the universe, I think, is young.

    As an analogy, think of the east coast of the US and the Atlantic Ocean. One grain of sand near Florida might have intelligent life,but if you search the coast of Florida, you will find no more. People may speculate that there may be intelligent life on a grain of sand off New Jersey. But it’s too far to know for sure and it’ll take millions of years at the speed of light to get there.
    And no one is even thinking of a grain of sand in the Pacific because they barely know it even exists..
    I’m not making sense, I know, but’s so big and the times would be so long, I don’t think we will ever know. And I’m not talking about one celled organisms or bacteria..that may be possible to be aware of, but still probably just in our solar system.

    I don’t think we are a fluke because if it can happen once, you can be guaranteed, it will happen again, but you’ll never know.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well, don’t worry about not making a satisfactory analogy. I don’t think there is much we can say to make someone able to grasp what we have trouble with ourselves. When we talk about the age of the earth, 4.5 billion years, and how long it has taken life to develop here or that our nearest neighbor star, outside our solar system, is Proxima Centauri at 4.28 light-years away, it is impossible for me to have a real sense of the implications. Yet I imagine that one day, we will find a place to colonize outside our solar system.

      About 300,000 years ago, we emerged as the top ape, but we were still eating grubs and roots. Compared to the age of the earth, we have been here for approximately the blink of an eye. (Yes. The blink of an eye registers on my fantastical calculator. Just take my word for it.)

      Now, we are discussing the possibilities of life elsewhere in the universe. We have probes in interstellar space. We have a telescope searching for evidence of galaxies on the order of 13 billion years old. We have to remain critical, imaginative, and inquisitive. We may never be able to produce concrete evidence of any form of life anywhere else in this vast universe, but we have to search.

      It may be that there are people responding to Nan’s post who had not spent much time looking into these questions before but are now involved. Others have been waiting for it. We don’t have to agree. We don’t have to take part. But it’s best we do. I think we owe it to Nan and each other to give our opinions and read the opinions of others. We shouldn’t get our bloomers all bunched up because someone challenges our opinions. We just need to have some facts and reasons ready to offer up. We can find edification in a lot of things if we just look.

      Thank you for being here and offering up an opinion.


  4. I do agree. But that being said, for any planet that hosts life, the probability that it’s anything more than bacterial life is fairly low. And for those that do develop anything more than bacteria, the probability of developing intelligent life is also low. And for those few that do have intelligences, the probability of their already having reached a technological society that can communicate with outsiders is low. And now that we are down to so few, the odds that one of them exists right now within our possible communication radius is ridiculously small.

    I don’t think it’s crazy to imagine that we would be able to detect signs of microbial life on other planets in our lifetime. If we can get good spectral measurements of exoplanetary atmospheres, and find that some of them have a makeup of gases that’s out of chemical equilibrium, those might be good candidates. For example, oxygen is so reactive, finding a high O2 spike is unlikely unless something is actively generating it.

    I think the universe is probably teeming with rocky planets covered in some sort of life. But for us to ever find someone to talk to would take an incredible stroke of luck. (Unless lightspeed isn’t the barrier that we think it is.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • there’s a certain sadness in a statement that says “there is no way life could exist on another planet” ; one that assumes that we are too precious, too unique, too important, to conceive of other forms of life on other kinds of worlds.
      When you only know about apples and oranges as fruit, if someone suggests that there might be other kinds you tell him he’s crazy and walk away. That may be simplifying it, but basically that’s what we do.
      “Oh, how can there be other life forms? We are so special…” We are also an extremely belligerent, warlike creation, with disturbing behaviors that we inherit from our simian ancestors. `

      I would like to think there are other life forms out there, quite possibly even something so alien to our perceptions of what ‘life’ should look like that is going quite happily about its own business, possibly speculating about the possibilities of life elsewhere in the universe.

      Liked by 4 people

      • it’s not that we are so special. it’s that life is possibly so improbable that it nay not exist elsewhere. If I win the lottery tomorrow …it is not because I was special. Just lucky.


        • If you win the lottery tomorrow, that’s lucky for you. But whether there is eventually a lottery winner somewhere isn’t luck, it’s statistics. Large enough numbers make even things with a low probability likely to occur somewhere.

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        • And that is the issue. biologists have already noted the difficulty, the improbability of biochemistry evolving out of primeval muck. Sure…precursors may arise, but are they enough to form proteins, biology,advanced life. We don’t know what the probabilities are because we don’t really know how biology arose. So the chance, the probability,maybe so minimal that life…especially complex life…did NOT arise. But we can’t know either way because we are so lacking in knowledge.


  5. As an avid reader of science fiction, I took it for granted there was sentient life elsewhere in the universe. Now, as an old man, I am not so sure there is sentient life on Earth even. (Tic)
    However, while writing a story back in the 90s, without thinking I wrote that the biggest surprise humans found when they took to the stars was never finding any life anywhere above the lower plant and animal level — no “intelligent life.” The more I thought about it, the more I came to agree.
    I hope I am wrong, truly, but at this point I don’t think I am. We are an evolutionary experiment, and we are failing horribly.
    But I also think there are other planes of existence, not in our universe but still within the cosmos. Life is a process, and somewhere that process has gone above and beyond life in this dimension, or at the least in the process of doing so. Ii believe life has no beginning, or end. It just is.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ahhhh yes. The appeal of science fiction! It can (and often does) make a “believer” out of many, doesn’t it? And I admit, there was a time when I was swept away by the same thinking. However, age (and hopefully) wisdom has altered my outlook.

      Time and science may one day reveal the “truth,” but I’m quite sure I won’t be around to deny or accept. 🙂 And as far as your other perspective? Well, as my gravatar indicates … We are all Star Stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

    • “We are an evolutionary experiment, and we are failing horribly.”
      I would like to know why you think life is an experiment as well as why you think it is failing.

      Whose experiment is it?

      What are the indications you have that it is a failed experiment?

      I don’t think you can make that call on an experiment that apparently is not yours.

      “I believe life has no beginning or end. It just is.”
      I’m just going to let that sit there while I go watch a PBS documentary on “fossils that should not exist.”


      • Every species, living and dead, is an evolutionary experiment. There is no who, just whatever hsppens happens.

        And the indication that we are failing is first we caused the climate to change, and thougn we realize the problem, and can do something about it, most humans are ignoring it — even though it may probably be genocidal to do so.

        Meanwhile, failing does not mean failed.. It is a point on a line of process. The end has not arrived yet. There is still time to chxnge the projected outcome — or, evolution can come up with another change, and start a new species using humanity as its base. That would be a deus ex machina sea change, but still a possibility.

        I do hope you enjoy your documentary on fossils that should not exist, because there aren’t any. Fossils are historical records, meaning each one tells a story. How can they not exist if they were already part of the story?

        It is all in how you look at life, but you already know that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you. I did enjoy the documentary, but that title may be misleading. It is about fossil evidence of soft-body life forms: things that do not leave skeletal remains.

          That’s the way opinions ger shaped and matter. Where you say experiment, I would say process.

          A lot of weight has been placed on bi-pedal mobility, but this fantastic brain and awareness of our place in space and time seem to me to be the most important development. We are the first species with the ability to impact our environment and possibly, our continued evolution.

          I wonder about the next iteration of homo. I think evolution will continue, step by step, and discounting some nuclear conflagration or another such calamity, it will continue to build on the same tree.


        • I don’t like the word process only because it implies order. There is no order in evolution as far as I can tell. I guess something similar could be said about the word experiment, but the way I am using it is actually chaotic at first. Something mutates, for whatever reason, and evolution allows the mutation to stand as long as it can. The longer the mutation stands, the more it seems like a success story, but really, even considering cockroaches and crocodiles, the story is ongoing. Ending a story is always failure. And that includes humans.
          Wgat might humans become? While there is no way of knowing, the next step will probably be a response to an environmental or atmospheric change. If our air gets so polluted a normal human cannot breathe it, likely the next change will be in the abiliity for the lungs to get oxygen out of murky air, or a change from oxygen to another atmospheric element. Hard, almost impossible to foresee, and yet totally possible. We might have to regrow gills so that we can live underwater, or grow wings so we can fly above the pollution (I am assuming the polluted air will be worst closest to the ground, so there should be more oxygen available at higher levels). But whatever comes, there is no way to know how long the new variety of humans will last. Like everything else, it is only successful as long it maintains life.
          What really makes humans seem superior to all other species (a homocentric belief if ever I heard one) is, I think, a result of many things, not just one or two. Is an awareness of our place in time and space important? We are the only species to wear wristwatches, assuredly, but every other species gets along well enough without them, so we do not really know if this is a permanent advantage to us, or not. Knowing day from night, and season to season seems to be enough sense of time for every other species. And it really has a lot of serious side-effects on some people’s mental health. Look at the figures on the days following a time change of just one hour twice a year. Accidents are up, and industrial production is down, according to numerous studies. I threw my watch away over 20 years ago, and my mental health is much better for it. Admittedly, I have been retired for 8 years now, but my switch was much easier from working to retirement than it was for many of my friends an co-workers. Time is an organized delusion. While it is based on the position of the sun in the sky (sun dials were the earliest form of clock), really time is must another human attempt to control our environment. But time does not really exist.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Sorry, Nan, but I disagree with you and I agree with the blogger you are quoting.

    “I feel life on this planet was a chance event.”

    I agree that it is a chance event. But the chances seem pretty good. The evidence is that life started on earth soon after it cooled enough to support life. This is what suggests that the chances are good.

    Note that I am thinking of this in terms of microbial life. The chance of something like humans is far less likely.

    Liked by 2 people

    • No need to be sorry. From comments thus far, I’m in the minority. And regrettably, at my age, I doubt I’ll be around if/when the outer-space scientists prove me wrong.

      As related to your last thought … how will anyone be able to detect microbial life on planets that are light years away? Or are you thinking more along the lines of planets in our solar system?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Detecting them will be difficult. As far as I know, they look for changes in the atmosphere that are likely to be caused by microbial life. And this affects the light transmission through that atmosphere.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I haven’t been following all the developments of the Mars Rover. If evidence of and sort of life or water is discovered that will likely be a game-changer with regard such speculation, flinging the door wide open!

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        • and does it matter if we can’t detect them? does it matter if we never find out? (well, it would be nice to know)
          But given our warlike attitude toward foreign substances, I suspect we would be on the first plane out to kill them all before they had a chance to kill us…

          Years ago I read a short story about aliens who came calling. They were gifted, highly evolved creatures that had been searching for a new home, since theirs was dying. There were only three or four of them left. With them came plans for amazing structures, both mathematical and physical, and they would have been a boon to this world.
          The drawback was, they resembled nothing so much as gigantic preying mantises, and they were all destroyed within days of landing. Take no prisoners, ask no questions. Just shoot to kill.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Not when one looks at the complexity of biological chemistry. I think non specialists don’t really understand how complicated how just so everything had to be for life and we know it to emerge.


    • I think the trap we fall into with the word “life” is a big one; we tend to think of life as something that looks like us, or breathes in and out, that walks on at least two legs, maybe four, or would be recognizable to us as a lifeform.
      That’s a very narrow description, since “life” on other planets might be acid eating womwuts or critters that can survive on poison gases, and oxygen is to them a deadly substance…it’s nice to think that when I look out over the sky at night, maybe something is out there doing the same thing. =)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, since I don’t believe in chance at all, I will have have to disagree that life – on this planet or any other – was or is a chance event.

    As for life on other planets? I honestly don’t know, and even if people come back in a decade or several with “signs of life on other planets” – there are so many “signs” that then turn out to be mis-reading or caused by something else, that I won’t really feel like it changes anything. I do find that the way a lot of people think about life on other planets seems, to me, a little narrow-minded, or at least that science-fiction tends to run with the same ideas over and over again, when I don’t see why those ideas would be more likely or reasonable than a host of others: there may very well be “life” or even intelligence out there, that isn’t intelligence we would ever be able to communicate with, without being any lesser for that. And that’s just the beginning of my thoughts on the subject, so I won’t turn it into a near-blog post on your blog.

    Does it/do they know God? Whether humanoid-like or not, and if it exists, I don’t see why other life should not know the Infinite One in whatever way is appropriate to creatures of their sort.


    • You wrote something that I now think I should have included in my post … intelligent life. I MIGHT be inclined to consider the idea of microbial life, but intelligent life? Nope.

      As for the God idea? Since I personally don’t believe in the idea on this planet, why would I consider that it might exist on other worlds?

      Liked by 3 people

      • But microbial life is merely a step all the way up to us or something vaguely similar. Not most places of course, as it stays stuck, but on those rare planets…yes.

        We may be it now…..but not forever, as the universe is possibly infinite and time even more so. To me, it makes no sense that we’d be it for all time forever more…we may be the first, but certainly not the last.


        • Mary, I think one of the reasons I dismiss the idea of life elsewhere in the universe is that I think humans tend to be very narcissistic. We elevate ourselves into this super intelligent species, when we are really nothing more than a higher form of the other animals and creatures that inhabit this earth. Of course we don’t like to see ourselves this way. We prefer to think we’re the result of a special evolutionary process. But in the BIG picture, I tend to feel we are an accident — and unforeseen event with no apparent cause.

          There was a time in my life when I would have agreed with the majority of the people who have commented on this topic. But the more I’ve thought about it and considered the ENORMITY of the universe, I simply cannot imagine life — AS WE KNOW IT — existing elsewhere in the universe.


        • I feel the opposite as for the narcissism. As it stands, with no proof of other advanced life, we think we are something special, so there must be a god since we are so wonderful. But other advanced life would prove once and for all, we are not..all just a chance emergence from the building g blocks of life.

          The unfortunate thing is you and I will never know for sure.


        • Microbial life is by far the most common and Mose “successful” from an evolutionary standpoint. Human beings themselves are largely a colony of microbes with some “higher” programming loaded on top. To assume they are a “step” and we or other advanced life forms are above the microbes I think is mistaken.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Simple answer: yes!

    Closely and honestly consider the highly advanced mathematical Drake Equation on this very subject:

    Basically, the equation means this:

    The Drake Equation is used to estimate the number of communicating civilizations in our galaxy, or more simply put, the odds of finding intelligent life in the Milky Way.

    And THIS IS JUST WITHIN the Milky Way galaxy, our own galaxy! Here’s the utterly convincing factor: there are around several hundred BILLION galaxies (less than 2-trillion?), like the Milky Way, within just the OBSERVABLE cosmos! BOOM!

    And every single year, or at minimum every 5-yrs, more and more Goldilocks planets or exoplanets, are discovered by astronomers, astrophysicists, cosmologists, etc. We already know of over 55-60 exoplanets the last 10-20 years! 😁

    Hence, YES I agree with the above quoted comment.

    Why? Because of what I just explained above.

    Humanoid life? Ahh, now that is not only unknown and “to be determined,” BUT… mostly likely the living beings will be adapted to that specific exoplanet’s environment, gravity, atmosphere, and biological and atomic food-resource makeup for such life/animals. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • C’mon PT … you really need to slow down and stop having to add P.S. comments about your flub-ups! 😈

        Now, as to your perspective on “life” — IMO, the number of “observable galaxies” does not offer any sort of validation of extraterrestrial life. It merely indicates there are a LOT of planets and other heavenly bodes floating around in the cosmos. The idea/thought of any of them supporting life –as we know it– is pure speculation.


        • Well, in our solar system we have exactly one planet at the right distance from the sun to have a liquid ocean at the surface. And that planet developed microbial life really soon after the planet cooled enough to allow it. And for most of the planet’s history, that’s all there was – microbial life.

          One big lesson we have learned from the advance of science is “We’re not special”. We used to think the earth was the center of the universe, then we thought the sun was, then the Milky Way, and it turns out that’s not the center either. We thought we were the pinnacle of creation, and it turns out we’re just brainy monkeys with shoes. Every time we get all pompous about how important and special we are, a new discovery comes and knocks us right off our pedestal. When it comes to us being the only life in the universe, I don’t see why we should expect anything different.

          Liked by 3 people

        • Ahh, excellent points Ubi. 👏🏻

          I am one person/Earthling that thoroughly enjoys rich diversity!—even if it will one day include extraterrestrials from far, far away! 😁


        • Mmmm… with all due respect—and I certainly do mean that!—just a bunch of “heavenly bodies floating around in the cosmos” does not even COME CLOSE to the further complexities and many other science supporting the Drake Equation and chances of exoplanets EVERYWHERE… and then some!!! 😉

          “…pure speculation”? Alright, I give you that as long as you EQUALLY give me that for your unsupported position. 😉 ❤️ And then we’ll both move on. 🤗


        • But also… if I may say so Madame, your response then begs the question: why then even post the blog and questions… if you have already (a priori) made-up your mind? 😉 😍 Why any discussion? xoxo 🧐


        • I like to use my blog for discussion of interesting topics, (rather than a teaching blog). The fact that others might disagree with me should not, IMO, be a determining factor on the type of topic I choose. In fact, I find controversial topics often invite far more participation (as evidenced by this post). Does that answer your question?

          Liked by 2 people

        • Don’t mind Mr. D, he’s just a curmudgeonly old fart who thinks ‘overseas’ means the outskirts of Austin.
          He is trying though, so please be patient😂

          Liked by 1 person

    • Life comes in all forms. It becomes sad to assume we are the only life form that could possibly exist. If you’re looking for planetary penpals, then I agree, that would be a very long shot into an empty sky. But the possibilities are about as endless as the universe, arent they. We have only now begun to explore way beyond our own limits. That in itself is fascinating…

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I wonder if proof, one way or the other, would make any difference to anybody. If we could know, for certain, that there were other ‘intelligent’ (ha ha!) beings out there would we accelerate our efforts to find them? If there were proof of one billion other civilisations out there would we need to meet all of them? What’s the end game?
    And what’s the big deal about ‘intelligence’, anyway? Because we have a little bit of it, and nothing much else seems to, we arrogantly put that characteristic way up above others yet, in a universal sense, it has no more importance than atomic number.

    So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure
    How amazingly unlikely is your birth
    And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space
    ‘Cause there’s bugger all down down here on the Earth

    Liked by 3 people

    • What’s the end game? GREAT question. I trust it would be just to confirm their existence. (And obviously, validate the opinion of the several who have commented on this blog post 😁).


      • End game?
        Consider Europeans’ first encounter with indigenous people across the globe.
        Bearing this in mind any encounter with extraterrestials does not bode well for earthlings!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I think it inevitable, given the incomprehensible vastness of our universe. We are very likely not the only life in the universe. Just because the odds are low, does not mean it is impossible. Think evolution. Roll the dice long enough you get gradual, albeit slow change. The odds are very very low for beneficial mutations, but they happen regardless of those odds. Evolution happens, despite the odds.

    The odds are way in favor of other life in this universe IMO. All we see, as far as we can see is thousands and thousands of other galaxies. Best I can guess is thousands and thousands more beyond that. Each large galaxy hosting millions and millions of stars. Each star likely having a few planets. The numbers for potential planets are damn near inexhaustible. I’d venture to say infinite. (or at least so vastly huge we will never see or comprehend the end of it, might as well be infinite as far as we are concerned.)

    Now is this life I am certain of intelligent? Sentient? Anything like us? Or mere microbes? Bacteria? Or something we’d never thought possible? No way of knowing till we can confirm it.

    But I’m sure something is out there, somewhere something is alive in some sense. But space being so damn inhospitable, and so damnably expansive, we will quite likely never get there even if we find some way to find it.

    I just can’t believe life only happened once, given all of the planetary opportunities out there. If I’m allowed to believe anything I can’t prove, even though I really don’t care for doing so, I’m taking that.

    But, just like religion, when I’m dead I’ll never know if I was right or wrong lol.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Nan, I also think life unlikely elsewhere. To me because, “In the beginning God created the heaven [visible universe] and the earth;” we should have seen someone by now.

    On a side note, is it me, or do your’s and many of your readers’ comments often border on atheism and exasperation towards God?


    • Well, I’m pretty sure MY comments “border on atheism” (even though I’m not a full-blooded atheist) since I don’t believe the “Christian” god plays ANY role in the creation of the universe we live in. I tend to think many of my regular contributors feel the same so this may be what you’re picking up.

      However, I don’t detect any “exasperation towards God” because if a person is an atheist, there is no “God” to be exasperated about.


        • I think you’re imagining things. I don’t detect any exasperation … just opinions. In fact, probably the only “exasperation” comes from me because you continue to bring up “God” in any of your comments. 😒

          Liked by 3 people

        • This makes no sense…”How could god do what?” What are you even talking about? Making space so huge?, making advanced life so rare? Making just one puny species that is so miserably failing? Or creating mostly empty space?


        • He doesn’t run anything…he isn’t there. It’s all nature, the subatomic and the quantum world and the building blocks that emerged to create life. It’s a process.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I’ll bite. While I am definitely an “atheist” as you define it, my opinion toward your religion goes beyond exasperation. I find it…evil. No good news in the Bible. Just a petulant tribal god eager to torture the vast majority of his creation for eternity.

          Back to the topic at hand.

          I am not exasperated by a lifeless universe. I think it is fascinating

          Liked by 2 people

        • Ideal comment, thanks. And I agree- the universe is an efficient fascination. So to you isn’t it odd that bible writers while believing throw God under the bus? They worship, yet hold God responsible for everything good, bad and tragic.


        • Arnold: If your entire village is washed away or your kid dies of cancer, it is good to know you will whisper to that cute imaginary Jesus that lives in your head I still loves you Jesus.

          Liked by 1 person

        • You have not “suspended belief in Zeus because you don’t like the way he runs things”. You simply know Zeus doesn’t exist and it wouldn’t occur to you to invoke the mythology of Zeus at all when discussing an unrelated question. The reason we aren’t mentioning the Christian deity is exactly the same.

          Liked by 2 people

      • to pick another nit: define ‘intelligent”. By which standard? Life elsewhere could be anything from an intelligent microbe to a monstrous monstrosity that can only whistle…

        Liked by 1 person

        • There are probably any number of synonyms for intelligent but rational seems the one that might be the better fit in this case.
          If we are focussing on any life form that requires similar conditions as humans to thrive would it be too far-fetched to expect such a life form would be similar to us:
          Bi – Peds that reproduce like us and enjoy cheesecake and walking the dogs.
          Ergo, their evolution would, in certain ( many ) respects also likely be similar.
          Therefore, if we were to use Prof T as an example there is a possibility, however galling, our ‘aliens’ could be Arsenal supporters.
          I shudder at the thought.

          Blows kisses at Nan and begs for forgiveness.


  12. We can see with telescopes and the
    James Webb out to about 42 billion light years in all directions, but there is much more beyond that that we have no hope of ever seeing as they are expanding in space too fast and some we barely see now will crossover and be also be expanding away too fast and will disappear in time from our view. One day it will be us and our local group. There’s much more we can never see and they can never see us either…
    I would not expect anything much to be in our solar system, and maybe 1 or 2 advanced life in our galaxy at most, but on out there as far as it goes…who knows what wonders are there that we can never know about.

    As for the end game. Me personally, it would reinforce the idea that we are not so special and unique and have no reason to be so arrogant. And it would give me peace, for some reason, that while we may end up destroying ourselves, others won’t and those fortunate ones give meaning to the whole shebang. Just wish it had been us.

    Liked by 1 person

      • “I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in human evolution. We became too self aware; nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself. We are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self, a secretion of sensory experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody’s nobody. I think the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal.” -Rust Cohle, True Detective Season One


  13. When I said earlier I do not believe in other intelligent life, I did not intend to imply that human life was in any way special. We are freaks of nature as far as I can tell. That we evolved at all is a 1 in a billion billion billion billion chance. How many species of life have there been on earth, yet we are the ONLY species to learn how to change our environment in a way that threatens all life of earth. And knowing that does not seem to make most of us care to end that threat. So, are we really intelligent?
    And I do understand where the numbers people are coming from, even at 1 in a billion billion billion bilion odds that still snould predict other “intelligent” species in the universe, but that is just a prediction, and predictions are not a part of reality.
    As Mary said, time is also a factor, and intelligent aliens could have risen an fallen before us, and might after us too, but that thought is so depressing to me. Is intelligence not “intelligent” enough to overcome its own destruction? Surely some intelligent alien race would have evolved beyond self-destructing…
    All of this is moot, of course, for none of us will EVER be alive long enough to find out if other intelligent alien races exist. The universe is THAT large and TIME so long that no two intelligent race likely would ever meet face to face, even if there are or have been or will be other intelligent races out there.
    My own opinion is there are no other intelligent races out there. And I will go to my cremation believing that!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I like how Neil Degrasse Tyson put it, and I paraphrase for the sake of being too lazy at the moment to look up the exact quote: Given the size of our cosmos, and the infantessimally small blip of time in which intelligent life has existed on this planet, saying there is no life out there based on what we have seen is like dipping a cup into the ocean, observing its contents, and concluding there are no whales.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. I read as many comments as I had the energy for. You’ve opened a great conversation.

    I disagree with your opinion.
    Let’s lay the Big Bang and all the gods aside.

    We may not understand all that science has made available to us in the past few decades, but we cannot prove them wrong. All the solar systems in all the galaxies were/are formed by the same process. Now, we may consider that the earliest galaxies were formed by elements that may have disappeared by now. All the supernovae of those earlier galaxies created new elements. So, we can’t say that all the galaxies that ever existed were made of the same atomic structures. But we can say that the same mechanical processes were involved. All those galaxies and their solar systems, millions of billions of planets, have the chance for the appearance, more or less. The chemistry of life has to fall within certain parameters, not determined by us intelligent life forms. Consider that the earliest life forms on earth amounted to slime. Intelligence?

    Don’t give up on science.

    We live in a society that denies that some humans are human. Not because it is true, but because it is convenient for their situation. We have people who argue that any part of our life that does not fit their understanding of God’s Law, is sub-human, at best, and children of Satan at worst.

    To argue that life on earth is a singular miracle, by the hand of a god or the vagaries of biology, is to cut ourselves off from opening ourselves up to wider horizons. If we assume that we are the epitome of intelligent life, we may never be able to recognize the real thing, or at least, a higher level. A scientist with a good telescope and a spectrometer can identify evidence of biological activity or elements related to it, but not intelligence.

    I hope that when, if, we find life on other planets, in our galaxy, or in another, we treat it as precious, to be nurtured, embraced, and honored for its own value. And I hope it will treat us likewise.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. You already have more than plenty of well-thought-out, intelligent comments, but I shall add my brief two cents worth anyway. Define ‘life’. I do not believe that life as we know it here on Earth exists on any other planet. There may be life, certainly, on Venus or Mars or Planet XYZ, but those planets will not support human life with proper portions of oxygen, water, food, etc. Whatever ‘life’ exists outside of planet Earth would be alien to us, and we could not live on those planets anymore than those alien life forms could live on ours. We keep wasting billions of dollars to figure out if there is an alternative home for humans, while that money might be better spent to take care of repairing the damage to planet Earth, feeding the hungry and helping the homeless right here before our very eyes.

    Liked by 4 people

    • except to some extent your preferred spending is contradictory. The earth is in trouble because there are simply too many of us. Even if we could save everyone, wouldn’t that worse the problems?

      Not thst I disagree that some space spending is a chimera. But in the grand scheme of budgets and spending and human effort, it is trivial. I bet there are more resources thrown at creating mind numbingly banal video games ads for which infest every website or video I watch.

      Sorry…am in a fatalistic mood. Reading YouTube comments sections can do that.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I understand your fatalistic mood … I live there these days. However, to clarify, yes, the planet is overcrowded and resources are dwindling, but the answer isn’t to discriminately kill people for the colour of their skin or because they aren’t wealthy. The answer is to globally limit reproduction. Something akin to China’s old ‘one-child’ rule for the next 30 years or so should put things into perspective. However, humans are arrogant and think whatever they produce is worthy and superior. And you’re right about the money spent on video games and more, but that’s not government money … government wastes more on military junk and space exploration and other useless crap than they spend on people. Something backward about that.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Jill! I think you pinpointed things quite well!

      I particularly liked this: Whatever ‘life’ exists outside of planet Earth would be alien to us …. Although many have suggested/stated they believe there is “life” in the cosmos, I can’t help but believe it would be totally foreign to us. In fact, I wonder if we would even be able to discern it as “life”?

      Liked by 3 people

    • A good response, but what I see wrong with it is that we can do space exploration and research, as well as feed the hungry and prevent people from dying without healthcare. Our tax dollars pay for research and development which is then turned over to capitalists for zip.shit. We send people to congress who are determined to destroy the democracy that brought us to this high point in human history. We still burn fossil fuels, breathe contaminated air, and drink contaminated water because politicians are afraid to say no to capitalists and demand they give back to society. It is a real pain for me to think I will leave my children and grandchildren without a democratically governed republic.
      I know that is not your fault nor my fault, but it is the situation we are in.

      I watched a documentary on viruses, I think it was covid, but the thing I want to relate to is that the virus has a single-helix structure, so to infect humans it changes that into a double-helix. It has no brain, no heart, or lungs, but it does that to turn us into hosts for it to colonize. Is that a living thing? Intelligent? It may have existed for thousands of years. We knew about it long before 2020. Damn! We have so much to learn and such short life spans. And only 500 million years before our life-giving sun becomes a red giant and consumes us all.

      We probably won’t live to see it, but …

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, we could do all of those things if … IF every person and entity paid their fair share in taxes. They don’t, so our resources are limited and some things cannot be done, therefore we must prioritize. For me, the priority should always be people and the environment that will allow future generations to survive. Space exploration has some value, but not as much as providing food, clean air, housing, education, healthcare, etc., to people. I understand and share your angst at realizing that in all likelihood we will leave our children and grandchildren with a world that we have created where democratic principles are compromised … or gone altogether … and a world that needs some major overhaul if the human species is to survive into the 22nd century. We can only hope our future generations take the proverbial bull by the horns and solve some of the problems our generation has created.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Nan, that was the premise of Jodie Foster’s character in “Contact” written by Carl Sagan, a pretty smart guy. “It is a lot of wasted space” if there is not life out there she said at the end of the movie. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

      • nor should we apply human concepts to the universe, which is a far stranger place than even Mr. Sagan envisioned.🤪


        • Yes. Also Buster Crabb and Charles Middleton. Science fiction has always led science by a lot. But somebody has to pose the questions for science to ponder. Consider the fact that Democritus and Lucretius argued that all things were made of atoms. 450 and 300 BCE. Lucretius’ explanation of the ‘swerve’ was the basis of Steven Greenblatt’s book, The Swerve.

          We are the newest species to be at the top of the chain. It takes a few hundred thousand years for a new iteration of Homo to appear. Let’s give them a better send-off than we had. Maybe Hugh Herr would help out on that idea.


  18. It will be a long time before we know for sure, but I agree that the odds are that the universe beyond Earth is devoid of life. Even given the endlessly-cited billions of galaxies each with billions of solar systems, an event of sufficiently low probability could still occur very rarely or even only once.

    The initial appearance of life on Earth required a self-replicating molecule to spontaneously be assembled out of the simpler chemicals abundant in the primordial ocean. Only self-replication allows for natural selection to get going, leading to the development of more complex forms over time. Yet a molecule that makes copies of itself would have to be quite complex. Such a molecule spontaneously assembling itself out of simpler chemicals is a staggeringly low-probability event; in fact, it seems impossible. It’s very plausible that the probability of this happening is so low that it might well have happened only once even in the immensity of the entire universe.

    There are two ways in which we will be able, in the relatively near future (a decade or two), to get a real sense of whether life is common or rare-to-nonexistent:

    1) In our own solar system, the most likely possible places for life are the oceans of certain outer-planet moons such as Enceladus and Europa. These oceans are covered with layers of ice several miles thick, but there are feasible ways of verifying whether they at least contain organic compounds which would strongly suggest the present of life.

    2) We know of thousands of exoplanets (planets in other solar systems), some of which have orbits and other parameters which could make life possible. In not too long, we’ll be able to determine the chemical make-up of those planets’ atmospheres via spectroscopic analysis. The important clue will be the presence of oxygen. Oxygen is a highly reactive substance and tends to disappear rapidly due to interactions with other substances. The only possible way that a planetary atmosphere could permanently contain a high level of oxygen is some kind of biological process constantly releasing it, as photosynthesis does on Earth. If we detect oxygen on an exoplanet, that means there is probably something like plant life there.

    (Obviously completely alien life might have different biology that didn’t produce oxygen, but we would have no way of detecting that. Finding oxygen would at least be a near-definitive sign of life similar to Earth’s.)

    If we find life on a moon in our own solar system, or on an exoplanet a few hundred light-years away (a tiny fraction of the size of our galaxy), life is probably abundant in the universe. If we find no such signs, that suggests that it’s rare and might not exist anywhere else.

    We have good evidence that intelligent life doesn’t exist elsewhere. The universe is thirteen billion years old. If other intelligent species exist, some of them must be tens or even hundreds of millions of years older than we are. We’ve been doing systematic science for about four centuries, and look how far our technology has advanced. A hundred-million-year-old civilization would be engaged in projects on such a scale that we would easily be able to see them no matter how far away they were. In fact, they would probably have colonized the whole universe long ago and we would never even have evolved.

    If, in spite of this, intelligent life does exist somewhere else, obviously we have no way of knowing whether they would have anything similar to religion or not.

    But humanoid life? Sorry, not a chance in hell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “In fact, they would probably have colonized the whole universe long ago and we would never even have evolved.”
      The problem there is lightspeed. If the speed of light is truly a barrier that cannot be broken, then the distance between stars is a real problem for any colonization efforts. Space is big. Really mind-bendingly big, and mostly empty. It takes light four years just to reach us from our closest star (which might not be an interesting place), and physically travelling between stars would take far longer. Any ship that could be accelerated to anywhere near light speed would also start experiencing relativistic time-dilation effects, which is another problem. We see ships travelling between stars quickly and easily in science fiction, but reality doesn’t match up to that.

      To me, the fact that we don’t see aliens visiting us is a strong indication that lightspeed really is an unsolvable barrier. Either that, or the Prime Directive holds, and they are watching us from a safe distance to see whether we will destroy ourselves before we manage to grow up.

      Liked by 3 people

      • There are already some hints in theory that there are ways around the lightspeed barrier, even if we’re very far from being able to make actual use of them (the Alcubierre drive, for example). I don’t find it plausible that in just four centuries of systematic science we’ve discovered a problem so absolute that not even a million years of further progress would be able to solve it.

        It also just doesn’t seem plausible that (if technological civilizations are fairly common) every single one of the thousands of them whose explorations might have reached our area of the galaxy in the last fifty or a hundred million years would have something like the prime directive. In any case, for most of that time there was no intelligent life on Earth and thus nothing to inhibit them from colonizing or exploiting it as they chose.

        the fact that we don’t see aliens visiting us is a strong indication that lightspeed really is an unsolvable barrier

        Or — to invoke the simplest and most straightforward explanation — it’s a strong indication that there aren’t any aliens.


        • Or at least no aliens within our immediate neighborhood. We’ve only been emitting detectable signals for a little over a hundred years, so only people on planets within a hundred light-year radius would have been likely to notice our presence. A tiny drop in the bucket of our own galaxy.

          Liked by 1 person

    • I followed your link, Infidel, and WOW! You certainly covered the bases in your “book-length” post! 😁 What I read before I had to give up (I’ll try to get back to it later) makes a LOT of sense. And while you’re essentially discussing the unlikelihood of any “aliens” in human form in that post, you also brought out some good points on whether “aliens” even exist.

      I also liked your several remarks in this comment — and of course I felt your opening statement was spot-on: I agree that the odds are that the universe beyond Earth is devoid of life. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • I could hardly resist such a topic, since evolutionary biology is something of a specialty of mine, and basically-humanoid aliens are so abundant in science fiction, at least in movies and TV (to save money on special effects).

        I don’t think it’s even obvious that evolution particularly favors the development of intelligence. Complex animal life on Earth got by with only rudimentary levels of intelligence for most of its history. Those non-human species which are known to be highly intelligent, such as the great apes, elephants, dolphins, etc, aren’t noticeably more successful than the general run of animals. Intelligence doesn’t seem to contribute much to evolutionary success until it reaches the human level.

        Liked by 1 person

    • you sum up very well the video blog I referenced above. He looked specificity at how impossible folding proteins exactly the right way is.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The earth is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old. The oldest fossils are about 3.7 billion years old. But there were life forms before those that left fossil remains, so life took a few billion years to establish itself on our planet. There is no way to know if life has existed for a time and then died out on other worlds. There is no way to know whether life is just taking hold on other worlds. We need to remember that the universe is still creating new stars and planets and that process takes millions if not billions of years. Our lives are too short to observe such things in real time. I’m glad to say science is still working on its calculations, unlike other institutions which have received their information already set in stone.

      “We have good evidence that intelligent life doesn’t exist elsewhere. ”
      I’m glad someone is in possession of such good evidence, and I would appreciate it if it could be shared.

      “In the Universe it may be that primitive life is very common and intelligent life is fairly rare. Some would say it has yet to occur on Earth.” – Stephen W. Hawking


      • “We have good evidence that intelligent life doesn’t exist elsewhere. ” I’m glad someone is in possession of such good evidence, and I would appreciate it if it could be shared

        I described it in that paragraph of the comment you’re replying to. In such cases, absence of evidence really is evidence of absence.

        Liked by 1 person

        • In plain English, neither do you. 🙂 The entire concept related to the presence of life elsewhere in the Universe is all speculation. Each person has offered their reasons for believing as they do … but NONE of us know for sure.

          Liked by 2 people

  19. The sheer size of the universe is too much for my brain to comprehend. I tend to think that if another life form did exist, it may have died out long before life on Earth, ot perhaps may even be the origin of life on Earth.
    Perhaps in the far-off future, humans and other life will also die out here, and some distant, unimaginable civilisation will be left speculating whether there had ever been any life on our strange dead planet.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    • In a quick look at the article, this is what stood out to me (which makes what he says somewhat irrelevant to this blog discussion) — …because evolution is the explanatory mechanism for life everywhere, then the principles that we uncover on Earth should be applicable in the rest of the universe.

      -IF- life existed elsewhere in the universe, then his theory would most likely be correct. The thing is … DOES life exist elsewhere? THAT is the question being discussed in this post. 🙂

      But thanks for the link. It’s an interesting article (albeit long!).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes but several brought up that IF there is life elsewhere, it wouldn’t look anything at all like life here and this refutes that.

        I do obviously believe there is rare advanced life out there, but I also realize it’s something I really want to be true. And that’s because, if we are “it” for all time past, present and future, we are very likely going to screw it all up here and destroy ourselves and change the planet forever. And this means , to me, the one and only chance for life and the universe to have any meaning, is through only us. We will be the only creature to know there is something rather than nothing..that there is existence. And that puts the onus on one tiny infinitesimal speck and a young developing life form that it appears, will fail.


    • OK. That’s a little involved, so I marked it for later reading; thank you.

      Our own history bears witness that when our early explorers discovered other humans, they were perceived to be sub-human and void of intelligence, fit only for menial labor and/or slavery. Once counted as chattel, women and those ‘other’ people are now found in the highest reaches of all branches of learning, medicine, law, and finance. So, who are we going to trust to identify higher intelligence in other life forms? I’m going with Hawking on this.

      “In the Universe it may be that primitive life is very common and intelligent life is fairly rare. Some would say it has yet to occur on Earth.” – Stephen W. Hawking

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Given that we don’t really know what the conditions are that are necessary to give rise to life I find it rather remarkable that anybody could say that those conditions are highly probable. How exactly did they come up with that conclusion?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good question … but of course the consensus is that the oh-so-smart scientists have it all figured out. All that’s needed is those “right conditions.” 😈

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oxygen, Carbon, Nitrogen, Sulpher, Phosphorous, and Hydrogen are listed as the necessary elements for life. How do we know that? Because that is what we have found in life that we know of. We have never examined any alien (otherworldly) life forms. The conditions we live under today are far from what they were 3 or 4 billion years ago, so we can’t definitely describe those conditions, nor can we declare that life could only occur with those elements and conditions. We are not searching for Utopias but possibilities. I find it astonishing that people could think that those conditions could only have occurred once on one planet when all planets, stars, and galaxies are created y the same processes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The general consensus is that scientists are working on it. See koseighty’s comment.

        Astronomers, scientists, and physicists are working at the edge of our best intelligence. Things they declared as true 100 years ago may not be true today. That doesn’t mean they were wrong. According to the knowledge they possessed then, they could not be proven wrong. Many people tried.

        The only alternative we have ever had to good science is bad religion. I do not intend to go back there.

        I have never been able to accept the ‘big bang’ theory. But I can’t disprove it. I don’t believe there is a god, but I can’t disprove it. I have seen representations of the limits and shape of the universe, but I think it better represents the limits of man’s vision. The JWST has proven that we have no idea where the ‘edge’ of the universe may be or if it has an end. It shows that there are more galaxies than we imagined. We are learning.

        We need more and better scientists. We need to quit excluding women, people of color, non-Christians, and LGBTQ+ from opportunities in all the sciences. That just robs us of a lot of talent for no good reason. Our idea of intelligent life should not be defined by a white male in a good, dark, three-piece suit.

        A student after receiving a hand-out for a test:
        “Dr. Einstein, aren’t these the same questions as last year?”
        Dr. Einstein replies, “Yes, the questions are the same, but the answers are different.”

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Nan: I find it next-to-impossible that “life” —as we know it— is a common, or even an inevitable, occurrence.

    About 0.0000000000000000000042 percent of the universe contains any matter whatsoever. So would you consider matter to be “common” in the Universe? And yet matter is “inevitable.” As the Universe expands energy cools into matter. Physics demands it.

    Life is a system of chemical processes, chemical interactions. Wherever the right chemicals come together in the right circumstances, those chemical interactions are inevitable. That’s how physics works. For physics to not work the same in similar circumstances would be a miracle.

    Liked by 2 people

    • the second sentence in the second paragraph is my problem. I fear this coming together is so unlikely it happened once.


      • It is currently estimated that there are 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the Universe.

        Most of those stars have planets orbiting them. And most of those planets have moons orbiting them.

        I find it unlikely that just one of those planets or moons got infested with life. Space being so mind bogglingly big, I doubt we will ever encounter it. Perhaps I’m a romantic, but I think somewhere it happened again.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I think the numerical statistics make it more than a possibility. For it not to have happened more than once would be a miracle.

          Liked by 2 people

        • At the low end of consensus estimates for life on other planets among astrophysicists, there may be only one or two planets hospitable to the evolution of technologically advanced civilizations in a typical galaxy of hundreds of billions of stars. But with 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe, that adds up to a lot of possible intelligent, although distant, neighbors.
          If only one in a hundred billion stars can support advanced life, that means that our own Milky Way galaxy — home to 400 billion stars — would have four likely candidates. Of course, the likelihood of intelligent life in the universe is much greater if you multiply by the 2 trillion galaxies beyond the Milky Way.
          Unfortunately, we’re unlikely to ever make contact with life in other galaxies. Travel by spaceship to our closest intergalactic neighbor, the Canis Major Dwarf, would take almost 750,000,000 years with current technology. Even a radio signal, which moves at close to the speed of light, would take 25,000 years.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Most of those stars have planets orbiting them. And most of those planets have moons orbiting them. Within the scope of our knowledge, this may be true, but how can we extend this knowledge to the entire Universe? We’re not talking about “the odds” here. We’re talking about bona fide possibilities.


        • kos: Most of those stars have planets orbiting them. And most of those planets have moons orbiting them.

          Nan: Within the scope of our knowledge, this may be true, but how can we extend this knowledge to the entire Universe? We’re not talking about “the odds” here. We’re talking about bona fide possibilities.

          But – known or unknown – the underlying physics is the same, the underlying elements are the same.

          Once upon a time, we thought the Sun was unique. Eventually we found that the stars were also suns. (Or rather, that the Sun is also a star.)

          Once we thought Earth was the only planet with a moon. Then we found – so many! – moons. Currently we know of 226 moons orbiting planets in our solar system and 442 orbiting dwarf planets.

          Once we thought our galaxy was the only galaxy in the Universe. Then we found that many “stars” were actually galaxies in their own right.

          Then we thought that our Sun might be the only star with planets. Then we found that other stars have planets.

          We thought that humans were the only tool users. Then we noticed other animals using tools. We that only humans had emotions/self-awareness/societies. Then we found each of those things in other animals.

          Whether known or not, the physics that made life on Earth will make life on those planets/moons wherever and whenever possible. We just aren’t that special.

          Liked by 2 people

    • So you think we have it all figured out based on human studies, yes? Physics is nothing but a method that humans have created to answer questions about the world familiar to them. We have no way of knowing what forces or processes are actually present in the Universe, thus we cannot say unequivocally whether Life is present elsewhere.


      • Nan, we don’t have to understand something to know that it exists. Life exists here on Earth. We don’t have to understand how it started or what conditions were necessary for it to happen to know that it did happen.

        I can’t imagine that Earth is so rare that similar things haven’t happened elsewhere. I gave up thinking Earth/humans/life was special when I gave up Christianity.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting article … but it doesn’t change my personal outlook on the topic. 😁

      One thing that the writer claims is just because “we” exist, that gives credence to the fact others might exist as well. IMO, that’s wishful thinking prodded by one’s interpretation of human-based studies of the universe.

      Further, the writer calls it a “powerful” idea. Well of course it is! But that’s all it is. An idea. A conception. Even an idealization. Also note that he continues to use the term “must” … as in well, THIS happened so THAT “must” happen.

      Sorry, still not convinced.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not trying to convince you😊
        None of us know or , unfortunately, will never know…

        Heck, we could being living in an artificial simulation too…


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