The Duality in Thinking Scientifically and Believing Intelligent Life Exists on Other Planets
One thing that strikes me is that “intelligent life” sprung up once on this planet, and current scientific thought is that it arose because of a mutation. A mutation. One that allowed human beings, at the time living in the cold of Europe, to suddenly get their heads around finer work, to create more specialized tools, which would allow them not to live an easier life, but to live at all.
When you apply this theory to the search for life in the universe, you have to look at all the other species and notice that they live at the behest of nature — they, like our ancestors, must change in order to live.
This is in stark contrast to Humans, who change the surrounding nature to suit their life, and consequently all of nature changes, for good or ill, simply to survive.
Now, a system like nature wouldn’t benefit by creating a species like us, because imbuing a species with the ability to alter nature’s fundamental role in… nature… would give that species the power to ultimately destroy it.
So, that rules out a benevolent, interconnected “Nature” and makes nature rather a process than an organism.
What I’m saying is that among all the billions of lifeforms on this earth, only one has made a leap into what we’ll call intelligence. In other words, only one has come up with the concept of intelligence. As far as a “great filter” it’s as good as any.
But a “filter” assumes that all life in the galaxy is heading in the same direction. Maybe its less of a “great filter” and more of a “complete and totally random occurrence” like the rest of evolution.
Human beings bottle necked many times. At some point there were only an estimated 100,000 across the entire planet. Yes, virility and specialization saved them, but also random chance, or luck. Some people will say that luck doesn’t exist, that preparation is the only key, but a caveman cannot prepare for an asteroid the size of Texas to hit the Earth. LUCKILY, one didn’t.
And all this happened after our kind of intelligence was created.
Assume you have all sorts of biology on a planet, each one living and evolving in an endless unfolding of life. There really is no reason for our kind of intelligence to come along other than to save a species too physically weak to survive without the added benefit of tools. So why? Random chance, science says.
So, what I’m saying is that across all the worlds in the universe, not only did we randomly mutate this ability to see the finer aspects of our tools, but also to investigate the causes and effects of environmental factors — to ask why. This is also a benefit of random chance, likely the one factor that improved our tool making. You can understand how to make a better stone ax when you can ask why this flake comes off at this angle, but that one comes off at another angle. You can deduce what caused that and create all the best angles. There you go. You can ask why people die, and you’ll never be able to find an answer to that, so it creates a paradox, and of course paradoxes are questions that cause or brains to do one of two things — either we fabricate an answer, or we investigate possibilities until we shrivel up and die, and the next person who has the question will take up that mantle and carry it on throughout their life until someday, one person finally finds the answer. We call this science, and it is the actual mutation that brings us to where we are today.
So, somehow nature has led to the emergence of a creature so exploitative that it could easily kill anything it encounters. It “accidentally” allowed the creation of a meta-predator.
Now, this meta-predator has become so adept at utilizing this advantage that its currently hard at work creating another such anomaly in thinking: the Artificial Intelligence, a meta-meta-predator.
One could almost come to believe that Human Beings have actually been following the impetus of nature all along, and that all this nonsense about destroying the Earth has just been preparing the way for a third type of superior thought-form. That somehow, all the resources and all the life on the planet somehow conspired to create a consciousness that would then create a more complex consciousness than the one before it, and mind you, this new type of consciousness won’t need oxygen, plant or animal food, or any other power other than direct energy be it from the sun or elsewhere.
But that’s all an egocentric view of things. Humans tend to do this, but unless you believe that greater and more complex versions of consciousness is the endgame of life throughout the universe, then there really is no reason to suspect that any planet out there has evolved a human-like consciousness, or one that is exploitative to the degree that human beings are.
Space, after all, isn’t exactly the most comfortable place for life forms. If we listened to nature, we wouldn’t leave the bubble, just like the other billion some-odd species on Earth.
Indeed, unless you harbor a secret religiosity, you have to agree with the science. Whether our mutation was harmful or beneficial is up to furious debate between the Tecchies and the Luddites. Therefore, unless there is some mandate that all life must sacrifice itself to create better, more complete versions of consciousness until all the universe’s secrets are known, then we have to say that it’s insanely unlikely that our kind of intelligence will be found elsewhere.
This dismal theory can be further supported by the absence of our having found any large-scale evidence of the advanced civilizations we expect to see out there. You know, the type 2 & 3s, who should be harnessing the powers of all the stars and galaxies.
More contributors that presumably shaped life on Earth, which thus far are foreign to the exoplanets we’ve found. These include, but are not limited to:
Tectonic plates, Iron core/Electromagnetic field to protect us from the sun’s gamma radiation/whatever other radiation is out there, Jupiter’s gravitational field protecting us from giant rocks, a huge moon creating huge variances in tidal pull, proximity from the galactic core, liquid water, absence of methane… the list goes on for quite a while.
It’s entirely possible that all these unusual factors didn’t play crucial roles in creating the first life-forms, but it’s more likely that they did, since they exist, there is life on Earth, and without even one of these factors we would all die.
Unless some law of the physical universe dictates that all structures, including consciousness, tend towards greater complexity, to the detriment of all life, (which it might, incidentally, in the theory of entropy) we have to say that while life itself may be rich and complex throughout the universe, it probably hasn’t evolved to exploit itself and its surroundings.
Because why would a natural system that is otherwise in harmony, save for one hairless mutant, continue this trend for every other bacteria-ridden snow globe in the universe? The only reason would be to create higher and higher orders of consciousness, but that would be religious, so nevermind.