Some of the best research in astronomy has had to do with the search for extra-terrestrial life. It is some of the best because it has exhaustively searched using the most sophisticated and logical means of analysis. Based upon meaningful signals from the electromagnetic spectrum, it was expected that radio waves carrying language, images or intelligible signals or possibly coherent light (like laser light) from non-natural sources would prove “we are not alone.” But the silence, as it has been said, is deafening. We are alone.
To respond to this absence of life in the universe, some scientists have decided to pose the extinction problem. “The universe is probably filled with habitable planets; so many scientists think it should be teeming with aliens… Early life is fragile, so we believe it rarely evolves quickly enough to survive. Most early planetary environments are unstable. To produce a habitable planet, life forms need to regulate greenhouse gases such as water and carbon dioxide to keep surface temperatures stable,” said Dr Aditya Chopra from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences.
Dr Chopra has a theory which suggests that life must survive long enough to stabilize the environmental conditions of its planet in order to continue to evolve, essentially into sentient beings. This he says solves a puzzle for the fact that life exists nowhere else in the cosmos.
“The mystery of why we haven’t yet found signs of aliens may have less to do with the likelihood of the origin of life or intelligence and have more to do with the rarity of the rapid emergence of biological regulation of feedback cycles on planetary surfaces,” he said.
Thus he saves several pseudo sciences in one exhaustive hypothesis. Since there must be billions of livable worlds in the universe, based on the fact that we exist and since evolution only needs water to get started then the reason we do not see, hear, or detect in any other way the millions of alien worlds that should be out there is because they died; either before they got started or shortly thereafter as others have supposed. So, not only is evolution saved but so is the idea that earth is not special. Furthermore, if we could get to them, many habitable worlds are waiting for us to “stabilize the environment.”
These kinds of fantasies are familiar to those who know all too well the absence of critical thought that exists in such “biological sciences” as evolution. Instead of accepting facts that are so startlingly obvious, denial and obfuscation mixed with a bit of creative license form a theory that “solves the problem.” The thought process takes place like this:
Life is here. How did it get here? It evolved. Any questions?
There is no life beyond earth. When all evolution needs to occur is water, why is this so? Life is not out there right now but it did exist in the past but went extinct. Any questions?
Neither of these ideas is a solution. Neither are scientific. Both ignore reality. Both depend heavily on ignorance as much as imagination and neither actually satisfy a thinking person. Amazingly, both are based upon the absence of evidence. I don’t believe one needs to be a critical thinker to exclude from possibility two theories based upon the absence of data. But hey, that’s just me.
 Aditya Chopra, Charles H. Lineweaver. The Case for a Gaian Bottleneck: The Biology of Habitability. Astrobiology, 2016; 16 (1): 7 DOI: 10.1089/ast.2015.1387
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