Day 16 – Where is everybody?
I am a fan of the This American Life program on NPR, and today at work I was listening to this week’s installment. The topic was Fermi’s Paradox. In a nutshell, Fermi’s Paradox is the discussion of the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence of and probability for the existence of aliens. The argument goes like this…
- There are billions of stars in the galaxy that are similar to the Sun.
- If there are stars like the Sun, it stands to reason that some of these stars might have Earth-like planets orbiting them. And if the Earth is typical, some might develop intelligent life.
- Some of these civilizations might develop a way to travel through space – similar to Matt Damon in The Martian
- So even if these civilizations take their sweet time – they should be able to figure out how to get to us with in a few million years.
So given all these suppositions, Fermi asked the question – “where is everybody?” Why haven’t we been visited by ET before now? And why haven’t we gotten it together to visit ET at his home planet?
The first segment of the show dealt with a scientist who said he experiences sadness when he thinks about the Fermi Paradox. He is actually saddened that we haven’t met aliens. He was very eloquent in his sorrow – bemoaning the tragedy that either we are all alone in this universe OR that we will never live to actually meet others that are out there (and I could go off on a Biblical tangent about creation and the omnipotence of God and not really being alone at all, but that isn’t the point of today’s discussion).
All I could think of throughout his entire interview is have you never seen an alien movie??? Meeting aliens NEVER turns out well. Never, ever, ever. Star Trek, Aliens, Independence Day, Men in Black – aliens and humans do not mix well together. Maybe instead of being sad by this lack of extraterrestrial visitation, he should be rejoicing!
I’m trying to think if a real life alien showed up on this Earth say in the next 20 years, what the response would be…oh WAIT, we know – go watch E.T. Poor thing was hunted, fed junk food, hidden in stuffed animals (which was probably more horrifying than anything that he face in his travels to Earth) and dressed up in costumes. I’m not sure we have evolved as a culture too much since 1982 – so I fear for the reception an alien would encounter should he happen to crash into this planet. And that is really the UPSIDE of the equation. We are imagining (or the sad scientist is) that the aliens would be friendly. I feel this places a large amount of unfounded faith in the goodness of aliens. I mean aren’t they just as likely to be slimy, flesh-eating monsters as they are to be lovable ET? I think yes.
So I think I am just going to continue to hope that if there are aliens (and I don’t really have an opinion one way or the other on that whole debate) that they stay on their side of galaxy and I will stay on my side. And if we do figure out a way to travel to each other – maybe we send an unmanned/unaliened craft to say hi first. Just to test the waters. I mean for everyone’s safety and happiness. Just a thought.
See ya tomorrow.
30 Day Challenge Count Down
Days Complete – 16
Days to Go – 14