Mentioned before how ‘we don’t know’ is a perfectly fine scientific answer to many if not most scientific questions, especially in cases where, you know, we don’t know. For example – Question: Is there intelligent life on other planets? Answer: we don’t know. Could be, but maybe not.
But that, no matter how true, isn’t any fun! Besides, if we dogmatically believe that life springs up of its own accord and then strives toward intelligence until it gets at least as close as we’ve gotten, then the utter lack of evidence that this is so becomes a problem. Does life spring up wherever in the Universe the proper conditions prevail? Does life tend of its own to get smarter and smarter? Is the Universe full of planets with right conditions for life to emerge? Has intelligent life arisen untold thousands of times across the many billions of suitable planets over the billions of years the universe has existed? If you answered ‘Yes’, put down the Cool-aide and crack one of Feynman’s several fine books that talk about how science works until you are sheepishly compelled to admit the obvious: We don’t know. Could be, maybe not. Until there’s some evidence – little green men, radio broadcasts, alien relics – SOMETHING, ANYTHING – we must, humbly and perhaps sadly admit that, scientifically speaking, We. Don’t. Know.
I felt compelled to leap up upon this well-worn soapbox yet again by this:
What, oh what, could have driven all the fuzzy, slimy, tentacled, carapaced, segmented, multi-headed, oddly colored and really, really smart aliens to extinction? What tragedy could have caused this? Hmm? Maybe we could look at earth, and select whatever the current fads insist we should be most scared of, and then apply it to space aliens that our dearest dogmas insist exist despite no evidence?
(They did find a totally righteous picture, I’ll give ’em that.)
Yep. Climate change killed off all the aliens before they could swoon into our manly arms. Many news sources picked up this ‘study’ and its politically useful conclusions, but only one (that I saw) had a picture of a scantily-clad green space beauty with antenna growing out of her head, so we, like any red-blooded American male, went with it.
Sheesh. And besides, the Lex Luther equation (tm) is a much more scientifilicious explanation. Whoever thought that up is a genius!