Do you believe in ET’s?
Yes, I believe that life exists on other planets—life forms ranging from simple to complex, some as complex as human beings, capable of invention and art and culture and love.
I live in the dry desert, and I watch life grow here. I see delicate leaves of green push up through concrete-solid earth. They're weeds, so we pull them, roots and all. Always, they grow back. Life, I’ve concluded, is powered by an intense drive to live and grow and propagate, anywhere and everywhere. Life grows in the dry desert and in the frozen Antarctic and many other places we could call inhospitable.
That’s one reason I find it impossible not to believe in ET’s—the growthful and ubiquitous nature of life. Another reason is the vastness of the universe combined with the smallness of Earth and the subsequent statistical odds against the notion that we are the only sentient creatures and the only civilizing planet in all reality.
Planetary astronomers are finding thousands of planets orbiting other stars, and they’ve just begun the search. Some of these planets lie in what they call the “habitable zone”, which is a range of distance from a host star to a planet whereon life could be supported. Too close, a planet’s too hot; too far, a planet’s too cold. From their Kepler Telescope observations, NASA scientists extrapolate that the Milky Way galaxy may contain as many as 50 billion planets, half a billion of them within the habitable zone. If you consider that there are at least 175 billion galaxies in the visible universe (some astronomers think there are as many as a trillion), and you do the math, that’s a lot of habitable planets strewn about in the great vastness of space, the part we can see from here.
As for ET’s that visit us with maligned purposes, I feel no sense of the truth of that. I’ve seen no impressive evidence. Wouldn’t we have been destroyed or conquered or whatever by now? Would our destructors really be so subtle in their actions after all the trouble and expense of getting here?
I personally believe that we live in a friendly universe, upheld by love and sustained by an intelligence our finite minds will never comprehend. The more romantic of scientists (I know a few) have daringly said that love is the underlying force that holds everything in the cosmos together.
I believe we live in a friendly universe despite the fact that Earth is a quite unfriendly place. I have a personal belief about that too: that Earth is a young and troubled planet, a black sheep in an enormous family of worlds who are each evolving in their own way—some with more ease and happiness than the rest, some with tragic amounts of trouble—just as is true in any family of children.
Luratia is a planetary sibling that’s having an easier childhood than Earth. But it still has its growing pains.
If you're curious where all these ETs are—in other words, why we haven't we seen any solid, empirical evidence that they exist—see The Fermi Paradox on my blog Beautiful Universe.