Aliens: The Ultimate Them and Us

Here's a link to an interesting discussion on aliens that was on BBC radio 3 (of all places!) this week. The programme lasts 45 mins. I don't know how long the download will be available, so catch it while you can!

"Scientists have now detected distant planets that may contain life. If we are not alone in the Universe, will this fundamentally affect how we understand ourselves and should we prepare for the consequences? Ought we to begin work on a set of truly "universal" rights or prepare to take arms against the greatest threat to our existence?

"Debating how the discovery of alien life will impact our moral and philosophical universe are the best-selling science-fiction writer Stephen Baxter, whose books include the latest Doctor Who novel, the science broadcaster and journalist Sue Nelson, the futurist and neuroscientist Anders Sandberg, and one of our leading space scientists, John Zarnecki, Professor of Space Science at the Open University.

BBC Radio 3 - Free Thinking, 2012 Festival, Aliens: The Ultimate Them and Us
 

Starbeast from Planet X

Benevolent Galaxy Being
For me, I've heard many conversations like this since the 1980's.

It's either we visit the aliens first, or they visit us.

Already the world population is 50/50 that intellegent beings other than ourselves exist beyond our planet.

What do you think about all this Ratrunner?
 
How long does it take for a civilization to develop technological life sufficient to travel the massive distances necessary to visit other worlds? Put it this way, earth is some 4500 million years old, but we have only developed a technological life in the last 100 years or so. A minuscule fraction of the life of the planet. Other civilizations could have come and gone in this 4500 million year period and we would never have noticed. Equally we might fizzle out on earth in a few hundred years and miss the arrival of the little green men.

Maybe the universe is just so big, the distances so great and the span of time so huge that even if there are civilized life forms out there the chances of meeting up are infinitesimal?
 
Perhaps aliens have been here during prehistoric times, maybe they are still coming here, or, they just might be watching us quietly to see how we develope.

True. Or perhaps we are the aliens. Maybe Neanderthal man was the true earthling. Maybe homo sapiens arrived from another planet and wiped them out? (Not sure what became of all the technology though!)
 

Viktor Kuprin

Spaced Cadet
Writer
Don't forget, I kicked your asses back in 1953!

Your machines did. But your Alien Immunity Deficiencies were your doom, Marty.

The presence of "earthlike" planets might boost the odds of alien life in the Drake Equation, but if the actual occurrence of life is very, very, very rare, then speculating about preparations for first contact is, well, shall we say only "a mental exercise". :rolleyes: Until we can figure out the real answer to the Fermi Paradox, there's just as much chance that the Rare Earth Hypothesis is true, and that our planet may indeed be "This Island Earth". When we observe the abundance of life on Earth, we may be fooling ourselves when we look up and say, "Yeah, sure, billions of billions, so they've got to be out there." I've wondered for a long time if Asimov [Foundation] and Herbert [Dune] were correct to write about a universe without aliens.
 

Martian

Scout
Marty is rather formal....

You may call me Willy Lump Lump if you wish it. (Which is what Ann Robinson lovingly called me during the filming of the movie, btw.)
 
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