I’m interested in the efforts and interest in finding other intelligent life in the universe which recently took a bit of a knock.
On the one hand
The “exoplanet” revolution of the last 20 years has shown us that the universe is awash in alien worlds. More exciting, we now have methods where the atmospheres of those worlds may provide indirect evidence — called “bio-signatures” — for the existence of life. Over the next few decades we may finally have data relevant to the question of other life in the universe.
So astronomers are finding on a fairly regular basis discovering new exoplanets and given the sheer number of potential planets the assumption is that one of them must have life and so sooner or later we’ll discover it and then be stuck with not being able to do anything about it. All such planets be so far out of our ability to reach – it will be the ultimate unscratchable itch.
On the other hand there is this (also here and here) which for some is depressing news. So basically, a new study has worked on the famous Fermi Paradox and Drake Equation and concluded that it’s probably just us. Summed up like this:
Instead, it simply means that we can say with greater confidence – based on what we know – that humanity is most likely the only intelligent species in the Milky Way Galaxy at present.
I love that they put at present in there. So hopeful.
On a more serious note, I stand by this
Having rejected the idea that what is ‘out there’ is our creator, we’ve gone in search of our galactic neighbour only to increasingly realise that we have none. There is no escape and nowhere to escape to. It seems to me that instead of seeking the answer to the question ‘who are we?’ and the related ‘why are we here?’ from the one place where we know life exists (here), we instead search for answers in the one place that has so far yielded absolutely nothing.
Scientists can it seems,without any evidence, believe in other dimensions but not heaven, an eternal universe but not an eternal God, the end of the world but not the final judgement, in other intelligent life but not intelligent design and that the meaning of life is to be found in the stars instead of the one who made them.