“It couldn’t have only been us.”

Informative Article

Conspiracy theories and UFOs. You've definitely heard about the alien debate before. What are your thoughts on these extraterrestrials?

by Sindu Vipparthy

It’s likely that you’ve heard of an “alien” before. They’re quite popular in the film industry, starring in Sci-Fi and Action movies, conjured up as mysterious, pale creatures that roam among humankind, undetected. However, when it comes to real science, humans know next to nothing about aliens. Scientists are progressively sending objects out into the universe to find the existence of life, yet, we turn up with almost nothing every time. We’re hardly close enough to find out if aliens even exist.

However, where science fails is where conspiracy theories come into play. By looking past what’s scientifically known, these theories play a crucial part in providing a new perspective: “is everything we know a lie?”

In this case, many conspiracy theorists have identified what are thought to be UFOs (Unidentified Foreign Objects) on Earth, either elusively flying around in the sky or landing on the surface of the Earth. They take a real look into the question that we’ve been asking for ages: “Are we alone?”

And that’s where the trilemma lies. Should humankind advance with what modern science tells us? Or should they take a step forward and be skeptical like these theorists? Or is there a neutral perspective? Let’s find out.

Modern Science perspective:

Modern science employs a very statistical and pragmatic approach, using what was already known and countering the possibility of intelligent life on Earth (which is us) to billions of other planets in the universe.

In fact, according to Nick Longrich, a senior lecturer in paleontology and evolutionary biology at the University of Bath, said that other intelligent life is so unlikely that it’s basically impossible (cr: Metro UK).

Longrich describes this scenario as a lottery, except in this case, extremely less likely. He starts off explaining how every step in evolution took an extremely long time to happen, even in terms of the universe. Photosynthesis evolved 1.5 billion years after Earth’s formation. Complex cells at 2.7 billion years. Complex animals after 4 billion. And finally human intelligence after 4.5 billion years. Every step of our evolution is crucial to our existence—we wouldn’t be here without them—however, on top of taking billions of years to evolve, each step was extremely improbable. “Our evolution wasn’t like winning the lottery. It was like winning the lottery again, and again, and again,” Longrich stated.

Intelligent life as we know it is dependent on this chain of 7 unlikely innovations: the origin of life, photosynthesis, complex cells, reproduction, complex animals, skeletons, and finally intelligence. Each step has a 10% chance of evolving, so put together, a single planet out of 10 million habitable ones would pass this 7 step chain. But wait, there’s more: photosynthesis needs multiple proteins, pigments, and membranes to occur. Complex animals need all the essential organs. Reproduction requires meiosis, genes, and DNA. With all these extra minor aspects only likely to evolve 1% of the time, intelligence is likely to be on 1 of 100 trillion habitable worlds. That’s crazy.

The universe is a never-ending spectrum of space and with these enormous statistics, it’s unlikely that aliens live among us. Heck, they might not even live in our galaxy! And with this, Longrich describes our existence as winning the lottery of the galaxy, being the one among trillions: “the improbable result was us.”

Alien Conspiracy Theorists perspective:

First of all, the average person without scientific knowledge would acknowledge the fact that it’s likely that there is other life on habitable worlds, as the universe is infinite—never-ending you could say.

It’s a known fact that the universe is very vast. The Milky Way, itself, has more than 100 billion stars. There are trillions of galaxies in the visible universe. And that’s just what we can see. As per the Fermi paradox, habitable worlds like Earth might be rare, but countering that to an infinite number of planets and space matter in the universe denotes the fact that