Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard

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Of course we're not alone

Tom Cruise's latest round of stories in the news, after jumping on couches and slamming psychiatry, is about how he thinks we're not alone in the universe.

This is NEWS?! OGMAFB!

You don't have to be a $cientologist to believe that we're not the only sapient life in the universe. With as many stars as there are, and as many planets as those stars are likely to have, the probability is not that there are other more-or-less Earthlike worlds, but rather that there are uncountable numbers of them. It would be extremely unlikely that life could arise only here.

In fact, I'm reasonably convinced that we're not the only sapient life on Earth. There's a ton of evidence that dolphins are sapient, and a growing body of evidence that other primates may be, as well.

Those show the biggest problem we've got in that regard: We don't know how to handle a first contact problem. If we can't communicate with sapient species when they share the planet with us, with essentially unlimited time to figure out how to communicate, how will we even recognize it in aliens, much less communicate with them? I suppose a little green man (or whatever) landing his spacecraft in Times Square would be proof positive that he's intelligent. (Well, maybe not Times Square. New Yorkers probably wouldn't notice, or think him out of the ordinary.) We still have no idea how to communicate with him, though, or even where to start in making the attempt.

I suspect we won't find answers to this until we have to - and then, it may be too late.

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