Extraterrestrial Beings and Their Absence

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[The following is an excerpt from Marshall T. Savage's The Millennial Project (1994), concerning the extraterrestrials and their absence. Source .]


The Fermi Paradox

As we prepare to break our planetary bonds and emerge into the galaxy, taming stars and populating space, we have to wonder why it hasn't happened already. Why hasn't any other life form in the galaxy already spread from star to star? Why don't we look up in the night sky and see a living Mossy Way, instead of the sterile Milky Way? To all appearances, the galaxy is entirely vacant. There is not a shred of evidence that the galaxy has ever been colonized in the past, or that a galactic civilization now exists. As far as we can tell, we are utterly alone.

Enrico Fermi crystallized the issue of cosmic solitude when he posed his famous question: "Where is everybody?" This rhetorical question, and its apparently inescapable answer, have come to be called the 'Fermi Paradox'. What Fermi means is 'Where are all the aliens?' The question implies there should be lots of extraterrestrials around, and there obviously aren't--hence the paradox.

A scant million years from now, we will have filled this galaxy. From the central core to the globular clusters, almost every star system in the Milky Way will pulsate with Life. If we presume that we are a typical species, then we have to ask why other intelligent life forms haven't colonized the galaxy already.

The Milky Way is at least ten billion years old. The diameter of the galaxy is only 100,000 light years. Even if extra terrestrial space arks crept along at the glacial pace of one light year per century, the aliens could inhabit the entire galaxy in just 10 million years.

Assume that ten million years is a conservative estimate of the time needed for an intelligent species to colonize the galaxy. Further, assume there is never more than a single colonizing species in the galaxy at any given time. Even given these very conservcative assumptions, the galaxy, and our little piece of it, should have been overrun by alien colonists five hundred times by now.

Some very optimistic scientists estimate that at any given time millions of technical civilizations should be spread throughout the galaxy. If this is true, then why would our own jewel of a planet remain untouched? Perhaps we have been overlooked. The galaxy is a big and crowded place. Stars teem in their billions, and ours is a mere dwarf among giants. Perhaps our little world has just remained hidden among the myriad stars roiling in the clouds of the Milky Way.

Once we begin spread through the galaxy ourselves, however, we will quickly discover that Earth-like worlds are rarer than sapphires in sand piles. No water-bsaed life form engaged in colonizing this galaxy would ever by-pass a world like ours. The blue glow of our oceans, the spectral signature of free oxygen in our atmosphere would attract any sentient beings within dozens of light years. Like bees swaming to the nectar of an opulent blossom they would quickly zero in on our sweet world. (Even if ETs breathed methane and had liquid ammonia for blood, they would come to our solar system -- drawn by the vacation paradise on Titan.)

Any life form will, by definition, be dependent on energy. Like us, they will be drawn to live closely huddled around stars. ETs should be drawn to long-lived stable stars like moths to candles. In a galaxy saturated with life, there is no good reason our congenial star should remain so neglected. Our own species is going to pervade the galaxy. Very few stars are going to escape a serious infestation of flowers. Our expanding waves of seed ships inseminate virtually every solar system they come across. Dangerous exploding super-giants and extinct brown dwarfs are about the only celestial objects that will be bypassed. Certainly no juicy peach like our Sol will ever be ignored. Star systems like ours are prime galactic real estate. Yet, there is a manifest absence of alien condos here. Apparently, no wave of colonizing ETs has ever swept through our arm of the galaxy.

Unidentified Flying Objections

Many people -- some of them otherwise sober-minded scientists -- believe that the galaxy is not only populated, but that the residents of other star systems routinely visit the Earth. They point to countless eyewitness reports of UFO sightings and even close enoucnters of the third kind -- abductions. Speculating on UFOs is one of the great American pastimes. Proponents are passionate in their insistence that the aliens are already here. They contend this would be obvious if it weren't for a governmental conspiracy covering up the truth. (Rumor has it that Oliver Stone is on the case.) No aliens have yet appeared on CNN, but everything from crop circles to the disappearance of Amelia Earhart is chalked up to them.

There is no one on Earth who wants to believe in UFOs more than I do. My keenest wish is to be whisked away in a luminous space ship; to be carried off to the heart of an advanced civilization where they already have fat-free chocolate and HDTV. If I could just rocket off to join someone else's pan-galactic empire... It makes me weep to think of all the trouble it would save me. But as fervently as I might hope for such deliverance, it seems unlikely that any sweet chariot is going to swing low to carry me home any time soon. As much as I yearn to meet the little green men, there is no discernable reason to believe in them.

There is not a single thread of hard UFO evidence. Nothing I have heard of would even stand up in a court of law, let alone convince a hardened skeptic. The arrival of ETs on Earth would be the single greatest event in human history. By comparison, the discovery of fire, the fall of the Roman Empire, detonation of the atomic bomb, and landing on the Moon would all be reduced to trivialities. How could such an epoch-shaking affair transpire without producing any more evidence than a handful of blurry Polaroids? Belief in alien visitors requires hard evidence; at least a scrap, a smidgen, a particle, one iota, something. Anything! For my part, I would settle for a spliner of alien alloy, a corpuscle of alien blood, a fleck of alien dandruff. I will settle for anything you can actually put under an electron microscope and say of it, definitively: "It is not of this world." Is that too much to ask as evidence of the greatest thing since Moses? Of course, there is no such scintilla of evidence. And without it, no number of "eyewitness reporters", duly chronicled by the National Enquirer , will ever make any difference.

Chariots of the Frauds

Not only are there not any aliens visiting the Earth now -- Whitley Strieber notwithstanding -- there never have been. There is no good evidence anywhere on Earth that aliens have ever been here. In space, that lack of evidence is more obvious and may be taken as conclusive.

In the 1970s, a popular charlatan named Eric Von Daniken proposed that the Earth had been visited by "ancient astronauts". Von Daniken used every conceivable archaeological artifact, from the Pyramids of Egypt to the monoliths of Easter Island, to support this hypothesis. That his various points of proof were separated from each other by thousands of years of history didn't faze him.

One of Von Daniken's more intriguing bits of evidence was the presence of the so called Nazca Lines. The Nazca Plains are on the southern coast of Peru, in one of the Earth's most arid regions. The Nazca Lines are on the southern coast of Peru, in one of the Earth's most arid regions. The Nazca people flourished between 200 B.C. and 600 A.D. For reasons known only to themselves, they etched a variety of long lines and huge designs on the desert. The lines were inscribed simply by sweeping away the dark gravel that covered the surface, revealing the lighter clay underneath. Due to lack of rainfall in the region, these designs have persisted for ten or twenty centuries.

Von Daniken postualted that the lines represented guide markers pointing the way to a "space port", where alien ships supposedly landed. This is a pretty ludicrous notion. It's a little hard to believe that the aliens could find their way cross trillions of miles of interstellar space without difficulty, but needed giant arrows scratched in the sand to find their space port.

Nevertheless, it does bring up an interesting point. If extraterrestrials had ever visited the Earth in the distant past, it is quite likely that the evidence of their sojourn here would have long since been rubbed out. On the arid Nazca Plains, such evidence might persist for a thousand years. The span of a few millennia is, however, only a brief sliver of the Earth's history. In most other places, rain, wind, glaciers, and the plow would quickly blot out the evidence that aliens were ever here.

There is, however, a place where evidence of an alien visitation would persist for millions if not billions of years. Not only would the evidence persist there, but we can be fairly sure that the aliens would land on this particular place -- the Moon. Sealed forever in the time-machine of hard vacuum, the ageless face of the Moon provides us with a permanent record. The tracks Neil Armstrong left on the Moon will persist longer than any engineering works on Earth. Long after Hoover Dam has been eroded away and washed into the sea, thousands of years after the Pyramids have been worn down to sand dunes, the boot-prints at Tranquility Base will still be visible. Little bits of gold foil will still glitter in the sun, and the American flag will still wave in the vacuum's eternal breeze. Even a billion years from now, the spindly legged descent stages of the lunar modules will still stand as shining monuments of that shining moment in history.

If an alien ship had landed on the Moon during the past umpteen million years, it would have left its indelible mark for us to see. The Moon is a natural destination for ETs interested in the Earth. It provides a very convenient base of operations with numerous advantages: in astronomical terms, the Moon is right next door, and the same side always faces the Earth; the Moon is free of an obscuring atmosphere, and has relatively low gravity. If aliens had ever really visited our solar ssytem, we should find the Moon covered with three-toed boot prints and littered with galactic gum wrappers. Of course, we find nothing of the kind. The only artificial marks on the Moon's otherwise pristine face are the foot prints of a dozen men and a few wheeled vehicles. Extraterrestrials should have colonized this solar system hundreds of times by now. You shouldn't be able to swing a dead cat on the Moon without knocking over some alien artifact. But the truth is, there's nothing there. No one but us has ever been here; and no one but us has ever been here. Sadly, we must conclude that no ETs have ever called on our lonely planet.

This conclusion has some cosmic ramifications. No visitation means no aliens. If they were out there, they would have been here by now. They've had five billion years to get here. If the universe is really conducive to the formation of living planes like the Earth and intelligent tool users like us, then tens of thousands of alien cultures should have matured during the life time of the galaxy. Some proportion of those should have risen to Kardashev Level Three. We're going to do it. Nothing can stop us but ourselves. If we can even conceive of doing it, then alien cultures, with millions of years of technical history at their dosposal, must have done it. So, where are they?

Radio Free Universe

Life alters its environment in dramatic and unmistakable ways. The most cursory glance at the Earth identifies it as a living world. The atmosphere of the Earth is in chemical disequalibrium. Without life, the oxygen in our atmosphere would be gone in the blink of a geologic eyelash.

Just a thousand years from now, the appearance of our solar system will be totally different -- transformed by life. As Freeman Dyson points out, a highly advanced technical civilization will alter the appearance of its home star. Once a K2 civilization has surrounded its mother star with solar collectors and habitats, that star will look very bizarre to a distant observer. When we have filled the space around our own star with ecospheres, it will no longer shine with unfiltered harsh-white light. The spectrum of the sun wil be shifted. Its light will pass through the filter of a living green foam. Compared with other stars, it will look decidedly strange.

Just so, other living star systems should exhibit a characteristic "green" signature. A growing interstellar civilization would show up as a fuzzy green patch on the star-fields of the Milky Way. Whatever its signature, a galactic civilization would change the appearance of the galaxy in some unmistakable way. We see no characteristic evidence of galactic civilizations anywhere in the sky.

If there were a galactic civilization, we wouldn't have to look very hard to find it. We need only cock a radio ear to the sky. The cacophony should be defeaning. If the galaxy is indeed home to extra terrestrial civilizations, then we should be awash in reruns of alien TV shows. One shouldn't be able to point a radio telescope at the sky without being bombarded by images of the Arcturian Milton Berle. Unlike the spread of alien civilizations, which may creep along at only a light year per century, TV and radio cross space at the speed of light.

Our own radio signature is even now broadcasting our presence to the rest of the galaxy. Surrounding the Sun is a shell of intense radio noise, now about 180 light years in diameter. Our radio preseence has already expanded far enough to encompass 9000 stars. There is no way any radio astronomer on a planet within range of our transmissions could mistake the incoming signals. Even if he couldn't interpret the mesages encoded within the radio and TV waves, he would nonetheless recognize the unmistakable signature of its artificial origin.

A century ago, our star was just a quiet yellow dwarf, with nothing to distinguish it. To outside observers, it would appear to have very suddenly eruped, like a radio volcano. Our little planet already outshines the sun in the radio portion of the spectrum. Some of our most powerful planetary exploration radars are already ten billion times brighter than the sun in radio. An unexplained exponential doubling of radio emissions from an otherwise sedate main-sequence star would convene more than a few alien symposiums on radio astronomy.

Our civilization -- just now at the crackling dawn of the telecommunications age -- already raises a radio din of astronomic proportions. Try to imagien the electrostatic bedlam of Solaria: millions of massive deep-space radars probing for comets in the Oort cloud, billions of radar beacons sending homing singals to shuttle craft zipping through the solar system, trillions of TV channels broadcasting reruns of the Brady Bunch, and sextillion cellular phones -- all of them on hold. Solaria's electromagnetic signature will be a continuous atomic blast of radio noise. Solaria will outshine any other radio source in the sky, and so should any alien civilization of like magnitude.

An alien K2 culture should glare with the radiance of a quasar. (Quasars are point sources of radiation that shine with the luminosity of an entire galaxy.) But radio quasars are tens of billions of light years away. A K2 civilization should look like a radio quasar inside the galaxy. Having such a radio source in the galactic neighborhood would be like sitting next to Radio Raheem on the subway. You really couldn't fail to notice. There is no way to hide a K2 civilization, even if you wanted to. Its radio signal would glare out at us from the star clouds of the Milky Way like searchlight from a darkened shore. If the alien civilization is interstellar, the sky should shine in radio like the lights of L.A.

There is a program to actively search for signals from other civilizations in the galaxy: SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence). This is a noble cause, but it seems slightly absurd. Scientists huddle around radio telescopes listening intently to one star at a time for the sound of dripping water, when what they are seeking would sound like Niagara Falls. The most cursory radio snapshot of the sky should reveal K2 civilizations as clealry as the lights of great cities seen from orbit at night. That we don't see any such radio beacons in the skies probably means that there are no Kardashev Level Two civilizations in this galaxy.

Perhaps advanced civilizations don't use radio, or radar, or microwaves. Advanced technology can be invoked as an explanation for the absence of extra terrestrial radio signals. But it seems unlikely that their technology would leave no imprint anywhere in the electromagnetic spectrum. We have been compared to the aborigine who remains blissfully unaware of the storm of radio and TV saturating the airwaves around him. Presumbly, the aliens use advanced means of communications which we cannot detect What these means might be is, by definition, unknown, but they must be extremely exotic. We don't detect K2 signals in the form of laser pulses, gamma rays, cosmic rays, or even neutrinos. Therefore, the aliens must use some system we haven't even imagined.

This argument, appealing though it is, cannot survive contact with Occam's razor -- in this case Occam's machete. The evidence in hand is simply nothing -- no signals. To explain the absence of signals in the presence of aliens, demands recourse to what is essentially magic. Unfortunately, the iron laws of logic demand that we reject such wishful thinking in favor of the simplest explanation which fits the data: No signals, no aliens.

The skies are thunderous in their silence; the Moon eloquent in its blankness; the aliens are conclusive by their absence. The extraterrestrials aren't here. They've never been here. They're never coming here. They aren't coming because they don't exist. We are alone.




The Empire Strikes Out

It may be just as well for us that the galaxy is as yet uninhabited. We like to envision potential aliens as benign entities with warm fuzzy smiles and glowing skins, a la E.T., Close Encounters, Cocoon , etc., but there is no reason for them to be so cuddly. They are more apt to be like The Borg than the Ewoks.

Fortunately, even if there are hostile and aggressive races in the galaxy, it is very unlikely that they can establish an Empire by conquest. Once a species has attained K2 status, there is virtually no way for an outside invader to conquer them. Barring some unknown process which can short circuit physical laws, no invader can bring enough fire power with him to compete with a mature K2 culture. It is simply an extension of Napoleon's time-honored maxim: that battle is incidental to the decisive question of supply. A K2 culture -- able to harness whole solar flares at will -- can easily fry any unwelcome invaders.

The only way for an aggressive species to expand its horizons at the expense of other life forms would be to invade star systems which have not yet tapped the powers of their suns. This consideration ought to add some impetus to our own race for K2 status. Until we have grown into at least solar adolescence, we will be vulnerable to a hostile takeover. In as little as five centuries though, we can attain the stature of a celestial teenager. At that point, we will be robust enough to give a warm reception to any nasty Vogons who might show up.

Wizards of Odds

There are 200 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. How could it be possible that ours is the only one harboring intelligent life? Actually, it goes far beyond that. Not only is our solar system the only source of intelligent life, it is probably the only source of life in any galaxy. Hard as it may be to believe or accept, it is likely that our little world is the only speck of Living matter in the entire universe.

Thsoe who tend to reflect on these issues, especially those who believe that life must be a common phenomenon, derive long elaborate formulae to prove their case. They point out there are hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way; of these, some 200 million are similar to the sun; around these other suns orbit 10 million earth-like worlds; life must have volved on millions of these worlds; intelligent tool-users must then have developed hundreds of thousands of times; so there must be thousands of civilizations capable of star travel. Carl Sagan, the leading proponent of this viewpoint, calculates that the Milky Way has been home to no fewer than a billion technical civilizations! When this argument is extrapolated to the unvierse at large, the existence of ETs, at least somewhere, seems a virtual certainty. The odds of the Earth being the only living world in the unvierse are on the order of one in 1018.

With such an overwhelming number of chances, a billion billion Earth-like worlds, Life must have sprung up innumerable times -- musn't it? This argument is reasonable enough on its face, but as soon as speculators leave the realm of astrnomomy they enter terra incognita, where dwells an inscutable mystery. No one knows what the odds are that life will evolve given an earth-like planet around a sun-like star. Sagan rates the chances at one in three. A close examination of the issue indicates that he may be off in his estimate by billions and billions.

The evolution of life is overwhelmingly improbable. The odds against life are so extreme that it is virtually impossible for it to occur twice in the same universe. That life ever evolved anywhere at all is a miracle of Biblical proprtions. If it wasn't for our manifest presence, the creation of life could be dismissed as a wild fantasy. Generating animate matter through random chemistry is so unliekly as to be indistinguishable from impossible Yet, here we are. Obviously, miracles do happen. But the question is: do they happen twice?

Proponents of the view tha tlife is commonplace suggest that it is a simple process arising out of basic chemistry. Harlow Shapely, for example, concludes that because oranic molecules are common: "Life must exist in nearly all star systems that have planets." Carl Sagan writes on the origin of life:

In those early [primordial] days, lightning and ultraviolet light from the Sun were breaking apart the simple hydrogen-rich molecules of the primitive atmosphere, the fragments spontaneously recombining into more and more complex molecules. The products of this early chemistry were dissolved in the oceans, forming a kind of organic soup of gradually increasing complexity, until one day, quite by accident, a molecule arose that was able to make crude copies of itself , using as building blocks other molecules in the soup. (emphasis added)

There is no disputing Dr. Sagan's scenario for the origin of life. The only question is the likelihood of the "accident". If it is a probable sort of accident, given the right circumstances, then Harlow Shapely may be right; if it is not so probable, then it has serious implications for our place in the Cosmos.

Let's presume that all that is required for the evolution of life is the formation of a single self-replicating chain of DNA. (A great deal more than just this chemical accident is of course required to produce single celled organisms, and then a complete biosphere, and finally intelligent beings. But for the sake of argument, let's assume that a minimal chemical precondition is all that is required to set the chain of causality in motion that will eventually evolve you and me out of the mud.) As it turns out, the minimum chain length for self-replicating DNA is around 600 nucleotides. (Nucleotides are the building blocks of DNA, consisting of the base pairs of adenine-thmine or guanine-cytosine that form of the rungs, and the phosphates which form the backbone of the ladder in the double helix.) Six hundred links is an exceedingly short DNA chain. Consider that a very simple virus contains 170,000 links, and a bacterium seven million; your own DNA chain is six billion links long.

How likely is it that the primordial soup, given enough time, will cook up a strand of "Genesis DNA"? To calculate the odds of such an event occurring at random, we need to turn to information theory. This is an arcane branch of statistics developed to aid in the design of computers and telecommunications networks. Essentially, information theory reduces the nebulous concep tof 'information' to exact mathematical quantities relating to message length and content. According to information theory, a message with meaning can be interpreted as a level of probability. In other words: how likely is it that the message will be generated at random? This probability is dependent on the number of bits of information required to encode the message. The number of bits is then the exponent (base 2) of the number of random trials it would take to generate that message. In plain English, this means that generating even a relatively short message by random trial and error takes an enormous numer of tries.

Words, like those you're reading now, contain meaning -- at least that's the intent. In theory, the same message content could be generated randomly (perhaps it would make more sense if it was) Using information theory, we can find out what the odds are of a given message being generated by chance.

Let's use a very simple message, one I'm sure we're all familiar with from our earliest attempts to decode these alphabetic hieroglyphics: "See Spot run." This minimal message contains just thirteen elements: ten letters, two spaces, and a punctuation mark. Written English requires only about 50 symbols to convey any message: 26 letters, 10 figures, 13 punctuation marks, and blank spaces. THe first position in our message has one chance in fifty of being an "S". The odds of generating a particular message one symbol long are 50 to 1. The second position has the same odds, so the chances of a message two symbols long turning up as "Se", 50 X 50, or 50^2 to one. Every time a symbol is added to the sequence, the odds against that sequence go up by one multiple: three symbols -- 50 X 50 X 50, or 50^3 to one. Every time a symbol is added to the sequence, the odds against that sequence go up by one multiple: three symbols -- 50 X 50 X 50, or 50^3 to one; four symbols -- 50^4 to one, etc. It is very easy to calculate the odds of any message being generated at random: the number of possible symbols is the base, and the base number is raised to an exponential power equal to the number of symbols in the message. The odds of generating "See Spot run." at random are 50^13 to 1. To create this rudimentary message by accident would require 610,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (six hundred billion trillion) trials. If a computer were programmed to generate a 13 character string at random, and created 10 million new strings every second, it would take the computer two billion years to come up with "See Spot run."

Information theory shows why generating a 600 nucleotide chain through random chemistry is -- to put it mildly -- unlikely. The genetic alphabet is much shorter, containing only four symbols: A-G, G-A, C-T, T-C; but this doesn't help matters very much. The same rules of chance apply. The odds of generating a particular string of nucleotides 600 base pairs long are 4^600 , or 10^360 to 1. If these are the odds against the bob-tail nag, you'd better bet on the bay.

To create a strand of "Genesis DNA" would take 10^360 chemical reactions. That is a completely ridiculous number. Writing out such a number is an exercise in uftility; it requires hundreds of zeroes. Describing it with words is just about as hopeless: a million billion trillion quadrillion quintillion sextillion septillion octillion nonillion decillion doesn't even touch it. The only way to describe it is as ten nonillion nonillion googol googol googol. You can't even talk about such numbers without sounding like your brain has been fused into molten go. If you persist in thinking about them it certainly will be.

Surely, there must be numbers of equal magnitude available to rescue us from such overwhelming odds. After all, DNA is just a large molecule. So we must be dealing with atomic numbers, and those are always mind boggling -- right?

When Life arose, the Earth's oceans were, as Carl Sagan suggests, one giant bowl of primordial soup. The number of chemical reactions going on in that stew must have been incredible. Over billions of years, any possible combination of DNA could have been cooked up -- couldn't it? Well, let's take a look; the bottom line is always the numbers.

The oceans of the early Earth contained, at most, 10^44 carbon atoms. This sets the upper limit on the possible number of nucleic acid molecules at 10^43. (Assuming every atom of carbon in the ocean was locked up in a nucleic acid molecule -- an unlikely state of affairs.) The oceans could therefore contain no more than about 10^42 nucleotide chains, with an average length of ten base pairs. If all these nucleotides interacted with each other 100 times per second for ten billion years, they would undergo 3 x 10^61 reactions. This would still leave them woefully short of the sample needed to generate a strand of Genesis DNA. To get a self-replicating strand of DNA out of the global ocean, even if it was thick with a broth of nucleotides, would take ten billion googol gooogol googol years. Makes your eyes spin counter-clockwise, doesn't it?

But there are billions of stars in the galaxy and billions of galaxies in the universe. Over time, the right combination would come up somewhere -- wouldn't it? Assume every star in every galaxy in the entire universe has an Earth-like planet in orbit around it; and assume every one of those planets is endowed with a global ocean thick with organic gumbo. This would give us 40,000 billion billion oceanic cauldrons in which to brew up the elixir of life. Now we're getting somewhere -- aren't we? In such a universe, where the conditions for the creation of life are absolutely ideal, it would still take a hundred quadrillion nonillion nonillion googol googol years for the magic strand to appear. Sheesh!

Assuming some radically different form of life, independent of DNA, doesn't really help. By definition, life forms will always be complex arrangements of matter and/or energy. This complexity has to arise out of chaos. Therefore, some initial degree of order must first just happen. Whatever the form of life, its creation is dependent on some sort of chance event that created our first strand of Genesis DNA. It doesn't matter what sort of coincidence is involved: the matching of base pairs, alignment of liquid crystals, or nesting of ammonia vortices; whatever the form of order, it will be subject to the same laws of probability. Consequently, any form of highly complex, self-replicating material is just as unlikely to occur as our form. Simply put, living is an unlikely state of affairs.

When all of the fundamental constants underlying the bare existence of the universe are also taken into account, it becomes all too obvious that life is a sheer impossibility. How can a glop of mud like me be walking around wondering why it exists?

Bronze Age Pervert

Hue-man miserable race will thankfully cease existence before it can ever colonize another planet, let alone the galaxy. Other intelligent races in the universe are just as miserable, and interstellar travel isn't possible. Just because they haven't spread around doesn't mean they don't exist...I believe the universe is teeming with life...the example of Schopenhauer also shows you don't need to be a shallow materialist to believe this.

That God doesn't exist can also be demonstrated by the simple observation that any being more intelligent than us would have already abolished its own existence.


^You may be correct about the prospect for the sort of human space colonization advocated by the author of the OP, but I don't think there are other intelligent species in our visible universe, due to the effective amount of information required to be encoded by even the simplest biological life. If we could reach the stars, we would find the worlds around them entirely devoid of life. I am unfamiliar with Schopenhauer's thoughts on this issue.

Unfortunately I find this incoherent, and somewhat irrelevant. The implicit presupposition in the OP is that humanity evolved. Of course, if God exists, then it might have pleased Him to create life on many worlds. However that would be a question of theology not science.

Abrahamic and Dharmic religion supposes extraterrestrials; the various angels and deities are described as descending from the heavens and are not from the Earth. Some national origin myths are rooted in beings from the heavens. Korean civilization is said to have been founded when a god came from the heavens, after observing mankind from above, and had a child with a human woman. Such demi-god creates nation stories are prevalent around the world.

It's quite clear that man was created by and based on a non-terrestrial species, they had a falling out, and have since been steering the course of our history with such things as visiting carefully selected older men with divine revelations and artificially inseminating virgins to bare men as their agents.

The number of stars observed so far is enough to conclude that there is life. The age of the universe is enough to conclude that there is life more intelligent than us. The phenomenal rate of human advances in transportation is enough to conclude that some life form or the other has figured how to bridge the distance between stars. Human history and myth is enough to conclude that they're already here.


Angels are not corporeal beings in the Abrahamic religions, at least not in Christianity. The Old Testament is pretty clear that Adam was formed from earth and given the breath of life directly by the God who created of all things. Thus I don't think that the existence of extraterrestrials can be inferred from the Bible taken at face value, much less can be inferred extraterrestrials who not only visited Earth but also founded human nations; for one thing, Old Testament cosmology omits most of what we know now about stars and orbiting planets. And it mentions nothing about angels sexually mingling with humans.

I take the Old Testament creation story to be a narrative intended for members of tribes of non-modern desert nomads that conveys certain basic truths, e.g. God created the universe and is sovereign over it. I don't think that the details of events found in that creation story are meant to be taken literally, nor do I think Adam was a literal person. He is a symbol of humanity as a whole and the story of his exile from the Garden reveals certain truths about human nature.

When the angels visited Abraham and Sarah they were so human they were confused for being human. The perverts wanted to fuck them.
There were witnesses to angels visiting Jesus.

They are corporeal.

Yes, and 'made in our image'.

If the angels are not from Earth, they are extraterrestrials by the sheer definition of the word. They descend and reascend into the sky. They're aliens.

The book of Enoch and the passage out of Genesis regarding the sons of God (term for angels) sexing the daughters of man is what then?

Adam and Eve were the last models of hominid introduced to Earth by the beings who've been cultivating it. There was a disagreement, as one party felt this line of Homo Sapiens should be given over dominion of the Earth while another felt it should not be.

We have stories from around the world, civilizations and non-civilizations that were unconnected telling the same stories of deities descending on them, soliciting worship, imparting divine writ, and even siring demi-god offspring from whose loins sprang ruling lines.

Understanding that man is a test-species engineered by a higher race from a far off star is elementary in knowing your place in the universe.

Sperg alert: Sci-fi is generally shit, but the situation in the star trek universe actually seems plausible.

Also, why would aliens have an interest in us at all?

lol, "Sci-fi is generally shit," but first thing Broseph thinks of is the "Prime Directive."

Why not?

The problem with alien intelligence is not spatial, it's cultural. We are more similar to the insects of our world than to alien beings from some distant solar system. They could be interested in us. They could also be so completely different from us that we could never understand each other. Maybe they've passed Earth thousands of times, but we keep missing the signals. Who knows.