Sunday, September 9, 2007

Are we alone?

What are the chances that Homo sapiens is the only life form in the entire cosmos to have evolved self-consciousness and at least a bit of modern technology? Rather good, I think. When one considers the circuitous evolutionary route we took, and the numerous near-extinction events in the fossil record, and the fact that out of the millions of species on this planet only one--namely, us--ever managed to develop sophisticated symbolic language, it's difficult (or at least relatively more difficult) to be as gung-ho about E.T.'s existence. "But wait!" I hear some of you cry. "That's anthropocentrism at its most blatant--you have no right to elevate humanity over other possible intelligent species!" Actually, this is the very opposite of anthropocentrism. It is our very improbability that leads me to believe that intelligent species are rare--perhaps vanishingly so--in the Universe. I'll happily await the SETI signal that proves me wrong...

No comments: