Do Aliens Exist, or Are We Alone in the Universe?
Is There Anyone Else Out There?
Are we alone? Mankind has asked this question since we first looked up into the night sky, gazing out across the endless sea of stars above. We have always wondered if there is anyone else out there, somewhere amongst the billions of stars, or if we are all alone in this vast universe. Some philosophers throughout history believed that Earth in unique, the one special planet at the center of the universe, with human beings the apex of creation. Others, however, realized that there really isn’t anything special about our planet, or our solar system, so similar life likely could have evolved elsewhere in the cosmos.
Extraterrestrial Life is a Mathematical Certainty
Because the universe is so vast, and because there are so many planets out there with similar conditions to Earth, there are almost certainly extraterrestrials out there somewhere. Whether or not any of them have the means to visit Earth, and whether or not we will ever find them during our species’ existence is debatable. The universe is an infinitely immense place. If life could evolve here on Earth, there is no reason to believe that it couldn't also evolve somewhere else in the vastness of the universe.
As vast as the universe is, it is reasonable to assume that at least a few other planets exist with atmospheres and environments similar to our own somewhere in the universe. There is no reason to think that another planet couldn't have formed similarly to our own Earth. Perhaps there is no other planet like it at the present time, but at some point in the universe's history or future, there almost certainly has been or will be another planet very similar to our own that has developed similar conditions for similar lifeforms to occur.
How Technologically Advanced Would Alien Civilizations Be?
If extraterrestrials exist, they may or may not have advanced enough technology to find us and our planet. Some of them are likely very much like ourselves. They too probably look up into the night sky and wonder if they are alone in the universe. Many alien societies are likely less technologically advanced than we are at the current time. Others probably have technology far greater than we can even imagine at this point. There may be yet other alien societies that have already driven themselves to extinction with their technology and over-consumption of their resources, much like we will likely inevitably do at some point in the future. However, there are also likely other alien worlds that have not yet evolved intelligent, sentient beings yet. There may be billions of worlds with the potential to host life in the universe that have not yet even begun the process of forming lifeforms.
How Different Would Extraterrestrial Life Be from Life on Earth?
Some scientists claim that Earth is unique, and that it is the only planet that could support life like ours. Perhaps that could be true. However, life would evolve specifically to the conditions present on whatever planet on which it was evolving. The life on another planet likely would not be able to survive on Earth, and vice versa. It would be specialized to its own environment where it evolved. Even our own planet's climate has changed over the course of its history, and life has adapted accordingly to survive and thrive in whatever ecosystem it is presented with. Prehistoric life would not be able to survive in the conditions of present-day Earth.
Would We Even Recognize Alien Life if We Found It?
If life exists elsewhere in the universe, it is also likely that we wouldn’t even recognize it if we found it. Perhaps life evolved and adapted in an alien environment so unlike our own that it would be completely unrecognizable as life as we know it. Maybe there are other ways for life to exist that are adapted to environments that we can’t even imagine lifeforms surviving in. Perhaps they would consider our Earth to be completely inhospitable to life.
Science fiction is full of non-carbon-based lifeforms. It’s not uncommon for science fiction writers to speculate about the possibility of silicon-based lifeforms. Could this type of life really exist somewhere in the universe? Perhaps there could be even stranger types of lifeforms out there that we can’t yet even imagine.
Could Earthlings Be Alien Lifeforms?
Some theorists believe that amino acids, the building blocks for life as we know it, or even the first single-celled organisms, first arrived on Earth from space via an asteroid. If the theory that life on Earth was seeded from somewhere else in the universe turns out to be true, then there must be life somewhere else in the universe, or at the very least, there must have been life elsewhere at some point in the universe’s history. Perhaps life on Earth is all that remains of a long-forgotten inhabited planet. Perhaps we are only one of many planets now inhabited by the evolutionary products of the same simple life forms. Maybe someday lifeforms that first evolved on Earth will be seeded on other worlds and evolve into new lifeforms elsewhere in the universe.
Earth: One of Many
The idea that Earth is the only inhabited planet in the universe, and that humans are the only sentient beings to have ever evolved, is extremely arrogant. There is no reason to believe that Earth is the only planet capable of supporting life in the entire universe. We are only one tiny, unremarkable planet revolving around one insignificant star in a vast sea of billions upon billions of stars. How can we possibly believe that we are completely alone in this universe?
Questions & Answers
Are aliens good or bad?
If there are any aliens who can visit Earth, they may be "good," "bad," or even "neutral." It is impossible to know what their motives for making contact with Earth are until it actually happens.
I don't think aliens can be described as "good" or "bad" overall. Most life on other planets will probably never come in contact with Earthlings, so they aren't good or bad by Earth standards. Most of them are probably just living their lives on their own planets, just like us. Many inhabited planets may not even have "intelligent" life that we would recognize as being similar to ourselves, and may more closely resemble animals, plants, or bacteria. As much as humans like to place different things into discrete categories, we can't really categorize aliens as being "good" or "bad."Helpful 1
© 2018 Jennifer Wilber