The question of whether we (as sentient beings) are alone in the universe seems to be one that fascinates and infuriates people across the globe. For some, religion plays a big determining factor and for others it’s all about science. I like to think that I’m an open minded person but I also feel that really there no definitives without proof.
I think that for many, what leads them to religion is a desire for understanding and knowledge. People want to know that their lives have a purpose and that they are not simply some cosmic accident. Maybe that’s why for some devoutly (and some less devoutly) religious people it is hard to believe that the God/Maker/Creator they praise could have other projects. It’s certainly a disappointing realisation to spend your life in service to your maker only to discover they’ve got some other (maybe better) population secreted away in another corner of the universe. But I don’t feel that way. I don’t think that it has to be seen in that way. From a religious perspective, wouldn’t the existence of other life be an even greater reason to praise your chosen creator? They are not only capable of creating us and our world and forgiving our sins but also of creating innumerable other planets and life forms. Isn’t that a greater cause for celebration?
And when it comes to the science side of things (because it seems that religion and science are almost always opposed) I don’t think that our view points need to be any different. Some people think that as there is no evidence to suggest the existence of aliens we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. But science is for the logical right? I’ve always been one to favour logic over emotion and feeling, I’m comfortable with pragmatism and when playing those video games I love so much I’ll always choose to lose the one to save the many. So logic is kinda my thing. So how I look at it is this. There are 100 billions planets in our galaxy alone (and at NASAs best guess about the same number of galaxies in the universe) and it’s estimated that about 60 billion of those are habitable planets. With these statistics to hand, the idea that Earth is the only planet to have nurtured and supported life just doesn’t compute. It seems self absorbed and arrogant to assume we are the only ones to have made it through the evolutionary process on one of the 60 billion habitable planets in our galaxy never mind the rest of the universe.
Now I’m not saying we should all start staking out Area 51 demanding the truth about some crazy conspiracy theory. The chances are that actually no alien has ever graced the face of Earth. We haven’t ever left our solar system so why would they have left theirs and gone in search of us? More importantly I have seen very little convincing information from alien conspiracy theorists. Excuse me for getting logical again but even the stereotypical image of an alien doesn’t make sense to me. There’s a video that’s supposed to be an alien interrogation smuggled out of Area 51 and when I first saw it all I could think was ‘why isn’t this thing blinking?’ It had big dark eyes, they had a sheen that suggested a wet eye (rather than that of an insect) but the blasted thing didn’t seem to have a way of refreshing the moisture…
I suppose what I’m saying is I really don’t buy into conspiracy theories but I also don’t think that anything should prevent you from believing that somewhere out there in the universe is another alien race wondering if they are alone in the universe. Which is perhaps just as well considering I’m writing a space adventure…
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the existence of aliens and whether those thoughts are forged by your religious faith or scientific mind. Have you got a favourite depiction of an alien?
For me it’s gotta be Diva Plavalaguna from Fifth Element, can’t help but love that Diva Dance.