“It does not matter if intelligent life exists elsewhere. We will never find each other,” says veteran science writer Alex Berezow.
He’s not saying they are not out there. He is throwing cold water on our chances of contacting them.
Some things, he admits, have changed:
Thanks to advances in astrophysics, we now know that there are billions of exoplanets in the Milky Way alone, leading most of the scientific community to conclude that life probably does exist elsewhere in the universe. Those who do not believe so are now considered the kooks. And while alien abductions are still not in the mainstream, UFOs are — so much so that the U.S. intelligence community just issued a report on them.
But while many are willing to acknowledge that simple life forms, at least, could exist in principle on many planets, he sees two major roadblocks to assuming that they do. First, no one really understands how life got started (abiogenesis) on Earth. Berezow notes, “There are several different theories on the origin of life, and none of them are any good.” Eminent chemist James Tour has made the same point in some detail:
While more people accept the idea of ET on exoplanets, Proxima Centauri is four light years away. Across the galaxy? That’s over 100,000 light years away.