One popular opinion is that because the universe has so many stars there must be life all over the universe though it’s just far away. But when you view how compounding variables work it’s quite likely our lovely earth may be the only bastion of life in the cosmos.
Consider rolling a 20 sided die for a 20. Every 20 rolls on average will yield a 20. But if you need a pair of 20s in a row that only happens every once every 400 rolls. Three twenties in a row happens once every 8,000 rolls on average and a streak of 5 20s happens once every 3.2 million rolls.
Let’s make a list of conditions needed for intelligent life to exist in a star system and assume each of them have a 5% chance of occurring:
1- have a star of the right temperature
2- have a planet
3- have a planetary orbit not too close or far
4- have a planetary core made up of the needed materials
5- have that planetary core be geologically active
6- have water to make an ocean
7- have the necessary elements for life
8- have the necessary elements for an atmosphere
9- have the geology of the planet occur within the window of the Star not dying
10- have inorganic chemicals in the right condition to become self assembling materials.
So what are the odds of all 10 of those things happening? About 1/10,000,000,000,000 less than a millionth of a millionth. So even assuming a relatively small number of events need to happen the 1^23 stars in our universe would likely have life on only 2 of them.
But let’s say that instead of those events having a 5% chance of occurring they had a 95% chance of occurring in after all maybe “life finds a way” and the thresholds for requirements are much lower than I’m guessing. And perhaps that is true but it may also be true that some prerequisites for intelligent life are insanely rare.
Consider the moon. Without it we would have no tides, no tides could likely mean life never leaves the watery cradle of our planet and intelligent terrestrial life becomes impossible. What are the odds of an collision with Earth to break apart some of the planet but leave an incredible large satellite just the right distance to not come crash back into Earth or fly off into space? One in a million? One in a billion?
Armchair speculation like this can of course have answer the question to are we alone in the universe but I would hope it at least checks the vision in many minds where of course the universe is full of life. It may be that our minds are the greatest in the universe and that the precious State of life we enjoy truly is a Divine gift to be treasured in gratitude.Published in