Other Intelligent Life?? -
A Dissenter's View

ie. We are alone in the universe - within millions of light years of Earth

What arguments can be made to support this statement?

Rate of Technological Development: Life evolved on Earth beginning about 2 x 109 years ago. We have reached our present state of technological development after that period of time. The advance of technology was immeasureably slow until approx. 10,000 years ago, speeded beginning approx. 400 years ago, and has been incredibly fast during the past 100 years. Only a 1% faster rate of technological development would have put exointelligence where we are 20 x 106 years ago. That being so, we would be able to "see" (they might have visited Earth) or "hear" (their radiations / communications) them by now. As Dr. Carl Sagan said, "if there is other intelligent life in the universe, where is it?"

Singular Genetic Code: All life on Earth uses the same genetic code, the same four bases (guanine, cytosine, adenine, thymine) to code for the characteristics of living things, from bacteria / viruses to humans. This basic fact of the machinery apparently developed early and has been conserved, probably because it works. If exointelligence exists, why wouldn't it have come to Earth and colonized it or left some "contamination", adding diversity to the genetic code. Even simple life might have drifted here and colonized Earth with the same effect. But there is only one genetic code! This means no other life forms have ever successfully colonized Earth in 2 x 109 years. Ample time - eh?

Difficulty / Unliklihood of the Evolution of Intelligent Life: While exoplanets are being discovered almost weekly, the formation of conditions conducive to the evolution of life may be unlikely, even rare in the universe. The evolution of exointelligence may be even far far rarer an event. Note that although life began on earth 2 x 109 years ago, intelligent life as we know it has existed only a million years (to be generous) or the last 200,000 years (to be more exact). This is only 0.01% of the time life has existed on Earth. Large creatures existed in the sea, on land and even in the air for 200-300 million years before the present, but no intelligent species showed up until the very last moment. I believe this leads to the conclusion that intelligent life is extremely rare in its occurrence, and likely a singular event in the life of our galaxy, even though it is made up of approximately two trillion stars.

Editorial: The common wisdom common in the media, in books, etc. that intelligent life will be found liberally sprinkled thoughout the galaxy is wrong. The idea that by listening for radiations / communications from exointelligence, we are likely to hear them is doomed to failure - there is no one out there. Most of the scenarios seem in movies and on television in this regard are also wrong and illusionary. They do not fit at all with the reality of Earth, the time it has existed, and what has occurred on it. Our near universe has only one intelligent species, and we are it. The exploration of space will be far different than is portrayed on Star Trek and in most sci-fi movies, books, etc. Unlike the exploration and conquest of the New World on Earth 400 years ago, there will be no natives waiting on the beach or in the bushes!

Please - I welcome your comments on the arguments / opinions expressed above, pro or con.


Dr. D. Penney - ph. (231) 882-0204

  • E-mail .... davidpenney@comcast.net

    Last changed 05/09/05

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