Is intelligent life a fluke, or is it inevitable ? Image Credit: CC0 Pixabay
A new study has calculated the most likely odds of life, as well as intelligence, emerging on other worlds.
The question of whether we are alone in the universe remains one of the biggest philosophical conundrums of our time. While it seems almost inconceivable that our civilization is alone in the cosmos, the fact still remains that we have yet to see any evidence to the contrary.
But just how likely is it that intelligent life may have emerged on other planets ?
To find out, David Kipping - an assistant professor in Columbia's Department of Astronomy - used a statistical technique known as Bayesian inference to calculate the odds of the emergence of life by looking back at the evolution of life (as well as intelligent life) on our own planet.
He then determined how likely these were to reoccur if Earth's history was to repeat over and over.
"We find higher than 3:1 odds that life would re-emerge based on the timing of when microfossils appear in the geological record," he told Mail Online
"If we use more disputed evidence for life's even earlier start, the odds rise to higher than 9:1. For me that's quite suggestive that life should be out there in the cosmos."
"My paper finds 3:2 odds in favour of rare intelligence, so that's a 40 per cent probability of intelligence re-emerging."
Kipping was keen to emphasize however that these figures should not be taken as gospel.
"The analysis can't provide certainties or guarantees, only statistical probabilities based on what happened here on Earth," he said.
"Yet encouragingly, the case for a universe teeming with life emerges as the favored bet. The search for intelligent life in worlds beyond Earth should be by no means discouraged."
Source: Phys.org | Comments (179)
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