I agree that sentiment plays a part in theorising about presence or absence of life beyond Earth… but not necessarily in the way you think. I’d suggest that sentiment, in the form of excitement about our own current and future technology, leads us to make working assumptions about our future that may or may not be true, such as the idea that we’ll soon be spreading through the galaxy as fast as our imagined future space ships can fly. Which implies that intelligent aliens, if they existed, would likely have spread through the galaxy already… So we conclude that our species is very very special, a conclusion that many of us seem to like…

But what if we’re being just a little overconfident about what we can do with our current and future gadgets? After all, we modern high-tech humans have not yet demonstrated that our technologies can be used sustainably even on the nice little blue-green planet where we evolved, let alone in other places we’d like to colonise. Maybe the Galaxy has given birth to many species that have imagined themselves becoming its masters, just like we are imagining now, but none who have actually done that…

Someone who likes sharing factual information and fragments of the big picture

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store