HOW MANY STARS REACHED?
As was stated on the programme tonight radio waves have been transmitted from Earth towards the rest of the galaxy - does anybody know how many stars they have so far reached & how many of those are similar to our own. If the number is high, which I would guess at with radio being broadcast for so many years (exact figure?) having not received something similar back may point to us being alone.
WHAT WE CALL LIFE
Well, good points by Kathy Sykes exposing the general view of the subject. To speak about ex/in(telligent) life, one needs to classify what it is we call "life", and the whole issue of consciousness. There may be life forms out there that are totally unrecognisable to our corporeal sense - operating on a consciousness far advanced to our own. It would be as difficult for them to communicate with us as it would for us. As it was so rightly pointed out, intelligence exists predominantly in every species. However, the question of extelligent life (probably an anomaly) is what may be unique to our own human species. Eg. fact that we've been able to develop radio astronomy, tells us we've developed tools which can tap into nature's properties for these useful purposes. There may even be properties of nature (a superset of laws of science) that are as yet invisible to us, only due to our present limit of evolution. Eg. what about species here on earth that are able to communicate via telepathy? Even humans, no matter how dominant, can't do that. Dogs for instance are telepathic, plus they see things that humans can't. We cannot begin understand the variety of possibilities that might exist out there, and associated with those possibilities different forms and levels of consciousness. Therefore, I'd understand that we certainly may be unique in only a particular class of intelligence. Biological life seems too virulent to be suppressed.
ARE WE ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE?
No. The cosmos is teeming with life, far beyond your wildest imagination. We are just a small part of one dimension. And there are other dimensions, dimensions with countless worlds in them. Our world is like one page, one thin page in a thick encyclopedia, an encyclopedia with volumes which stretch on forever. No begining, no end. Every world is unique in some way. There are places so beautiful that we don't have the ability to describe them. In our galaxy alone there are millions of planets full of life filled with wired and wonderful creatures and beings. Some life out there is so bizzare that we would barly recognize it as a lifeform. Other lifeforms are very simlar to what we know, some are almost identical. Many are indeed humanoid in appearence. As you will find out later there are some extraterrestrials which look like us so much that they could walk among us without us realizing!
Like with everything in the cosmos there are infinite variety and numbers involved. Some lifeforms are so advanced that they no longer require a physical body. Worlds are at various stages of development. Every stage of development possible would be observed. Life may just be beginning on some worlds. Many worlds are primitive with no intelligent life, like the Earth was millions of years ago. Other worlds harbour itelligent life but they are technologically primitve, like our "cave man" days. There are worlds who have organized civilizations but are like "our stoneage" days. Other worlds have civilizations who are just starting to develop sciences and technology. Then there will be worlds at the stage which we are at now. Where beings are developing technology quickly, starting to understand the planets, stars and basic physics. They will be using fossil fuels and radio waves and starting to play with dangerous technology. These civilizations will look out into the cosmos and wonder if other life exists like we do. They may be starting to go into space and explore nearby planetary bodies. Like we do.
Technology starts to overtake spirtual evolution. Things will be hard and complicated, much suffering will prevail. Many bad things will be going on like it is on the Earth today. This is a very crucial stage where a civilization is capable of destroying itself and it`s world. That is where we are now. It is possible that some civilizations do indeed wipe themselves out. Other may be wiped out be natural disasters. In my opinion it doesn't happen often. All these civilizations are classed as primitive. Beyond that are civilizations who are more advanced than us, not just technologically but also spiritually. Some are a few centuries beyond us with their technology and understanding of the universe. Others are thousands of years beyond us. Then there`s ones who are millions and billions of years beyond us. Again there is so much veriety and stages. There are millions of civilizations who are way beyond us. Our ancient ancesters used to call them gods.
Two things 1) Daniel scares me. 2) Kathy's summing up was slightly patronising. Well. that's my thoughts. Life out there... I do agree that it's on the whole not likely to want to manipulate radio waves to send out messages. Even if there was ex-telligent life out there, finding another method of sending messages around their own planet. Most discoveries have been through chance, and observation. Whats to say that the other life didn't just happen upon a particular property of the gases within their own atmosphere and used that. Would limit their communication to planet based, and wouldn't send messages outside the planet. They might not even care.
INTELLIGENT LIFE EXISTS
I agree with Kathy Sykes. I believe that there is intelligent live in the universe. It was only in the last 5 to 10 years that scientists have discovered (better: detected) other planets were circling other suns! This too was seriously doubted by many scientists. Why I don't know. Just because there weren't sensitive instruments available didn't mean that these planets weren't there. I think its only a question of time when finer instruments for the detecting of smaller rockier planets will become available. The same is true for SETI. I am member of the SETI at Home project (see http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/ for further information) to help crunch data on my PC at home, which was captured at the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico. To process this data takes some time, on my PC about 10 hours for one work unit of 2 MB of data and so far I have completed nearly 100 work units. To me it doesn't matter whether we are alone in the universe or whether one day it will be discovered (better: detected) that there is intelligent life. If there isn't intelligent life anywhere then the more we could eventually explore and take advantage of all the resources that are there for the taking. On the other hand when we detect other intelligent life, we'd better tread very carefully and quietly. I'm sure E.T. has the same ideas about those resources as we humans have.
Jorg Masch, Thorney, Peterborough
I think that there probably is at least one civilisation, if not a grouping of them probably monitoring us, even helping our civilisation to develop by instilling thoughts and ideas into our minds, maybe whilst we are sleeping. But even that viewpoint is fraught with hurdles for we can't really differentiate between angels, demons, spiritual type bodies and anything which may have the ability to alter space and time outwith our comprehension. If we were visited by God or an alien being in our dreams or in a waking state which later seemed like a dream we have no way of knowing what really happened as we don't understand either presence. I expect the creator of the universe (if there is one unique "thing") could visit you and pretend to be anything if they wanted and vice versa, something much more intelligent than us could be whatever they wanted especially if they have the ability to tamper with our memories. Why any civilisation would want to have anything to do with our planet is what puzzles me and the concept of life in itself really doesn't make sense for if it never existed what difference would it make? We are all wrapped up and cosseted in our own ignorance. Imagination is the cage of ignorance. Beyond imagination there is only ignorance.