Since ancient times human religions have placed man as the center of all things. I suppose this is a natural leaning, just as a toddler is only interested in self. Of late, within the last few hundred years or so, there have been some who, upon encountering enormously enlightening discoveries, have begun to suspect that humanities’ self-centered ideas are incorrect. Now, in our time, it is no longer just a suspicion.
Despite the deranged few who continue to cling to outdated biblical assertions, the greater portion of humanity now knows that Earth, our planet, is not in the center of anything, in particular. Our solar system is not at the heart of our Galaxy, but rather in an insignificant arm of the spiral. Our Galaxy being one in an enormous sea of galaxies of incomprehensible number. Even our solar system is not unique, as there have been many extra-solar planets found, and presumed to be, many many more.
It has been speculated in regards to the huge number of planets found and presumed that life simply must exist elsewhere, even in our rather small and ordinary galaxy. If so, many wonder, why we have no evidence thereof. “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” is used a lot by Theology proponents and can be appropriately used here as well, for there could be many good reasons why we have not seen such evidence.
First of all we must admit we have limited technology available to us for detecting the evidence. Even now most of our planetary discoveries rely on minor perturbations in the orbits or rotations of stars on their axis.
Secondly, the distances are so great that even advanced civilizations would have difficulty traversing the vastness. Warp drive you suggest? Wormhole travel you propose? Both presently imaginative ideas, unproven, except perhaps to some degree to a mathematician’s satisfaction. Maybe such travel methods will remain so.
Thirdly, what if we are the first? UFO sightings notwithstanding we have no definitive proof that any advanced people have visited our lonely garden. The mathematics are persuasive enough to convince most that life on other planets is a likelihood, so the possibility there are no other life-forms is disregarded here. So what are the possibilities?
1. We are the first. Maybe we are the most advanced organism, where intelligence is concerned, in the galaxy. There are no radio signals to receive because no one is yet sending them. Evolution does not automatically select for intelligence. Evolution selects for survivability. Those traits which are most likely to allow genetic material to be carried into the next generation are those which survive.
2. We have yet to find the means by which these intelligent beings are using to communicate. Hey, we haven’t invented everything yet. Maybe there is some means of communication which is more efficient on a galactic scale.
3. Maybe they know we are here and are disgusted by what they see, or see us as unimportant compared to other concerns. Once again, it could just be our overblown egos. We once thought the earth was the center of everything, it’s a hard mentality to grow out of. Life could be so abundant on our level that they might be waiting until we have matured sufficiently for communication, or become a threat perhaps.
We live in exciting times. It’s disappointing to see the United States drop-out of the space scene, I hope we return soon. Even so, I am sure the slack will be taken up by other space expeditions carried forth by other nations. Humans may never venture far into space during our lifetimes with our limited means, but maybe our children will see the beginning bloom of mankind’s adventure. I hope it’s a good one and I sincerely wish that I could be there.