a Toulmin style argument
This isn’t as good as it gets. This isn’t all that there is. Take a look at our universe and we can see that we, as earth dwellers are not alone in the universe. The great expanse of time and space above us tells us that we cannot be. The fact that we are discovering new worlds every year and are slowly understanding astronomy just that much more are indeed evidence that there is life on other worlds.
Sure, we have no valid claims that aliens have made any sort of contact with humanity. If someone claims to have had contact with extraterrestrial beings, we immediately view them as mentally unwell. Furthermore, every time that we have heard about these things happening, they always happened under suspicious, obscure circumstances. But just because aliens haven’t come by to visit doesn’t mean that there are no aliens. We need to take into account the immense size of the universe. Heber Curtis and BBC-Earth say that the universe is approximately 93 billion light years in diameter alone. With this knowledge, we know that the universe is impossibly large.
With the universe being that big, it can’t be surprising that we haven’t run into other intelligent life. Indeed, one may follow this up with saying how the United States and other developed nations have sent many messages up into space and received no dependable response. Last August, scientists had actually discovered a signal that originated from nearby star HD164595, in the constellation Hercules. They are still studying it and trying to figure out what it is. But, even if the signal they found turns out not to be from aliens, we are well to consider the following comparison: If two people are placed on opposite ends of Antarctica with the instruction to find each other with the use of radios originally tuned to different frequencies, what are the odds that they will ever meet?
On the other hand, it may be held in consideration that planet earth is the only world within the “Goldilocks Zone”. This place is neither “too hot” or “too cold” like in the Grimm fairy tale, but it is “just right”. Indeed, earth is the perfect distance from our sun which provides us life and doesn’t do the same for Mars or Venus, or even our moon. (The water found on our planet is also a determining factor for whether we have life. Mars has ice but not much else because of its distance from our sun). However, NASA recently discovered seven planets that are within the Goldilocks Zone of their respective sun! This must be proof that there must be alien life out there! One may respond that this is inconclusive. Which is a valid point. Just because we found them doesn’t mean that there is life, but give it time and we will soon begin to find many more answers than questions. For this case, we just need to be patient with their findings. Even if these planets don’t have life, they are conclusive evidence that worlds besides our own can dwell in the Goldilocks Zone.
Finally, one could say that there is absolutely no way for us to know or to find life outside of our sphere with our current technology. We have been sending out radio waves for sixty years and have had satellites circling about for about ten years longer than that starting with Sputnik-1. An interesting thing to look into when considering this is that we do have a way to determine whether we are surrounded with otherworldly life. The Drake Equation was constructed and presented by radio astronomer Frank Drake in 1961. This equation calculates the number of communicating civilizations by multiplying several variables. Variables include the number of stars with solar systems that can support life, the number of planets in the Goldilocks Zone, and The number of civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy whose electromagnetic emissions are detectable.
One could respond that these things are further inconclusive. They could say that this equation is good and everything but really holds no relevance with where we are as a race trying to contact others. Sure, it is inconclusive, however, as time goes on, it has been proven that the equation has been modified and utilized differently over time and has proven more and more the possibility of life existing beyond our sphere. It’s another example of the necessary patience with such claims.
Further, Nicolaus Copernicus constructed the “Copernican heliocentric theory” in 1543 that was only held as a theory for decades on end. This theory challenged the then widely held belief that the sun and the rest of the planets revolved around the earth. Galileo Galilei proved the theory in 1609 when he turned his telescope to the heavens and found out that the moon wasn’t smooth like they all thought, it had craters on the surface. He also discovered that Venus has phases like our moon.
Adversaries of Copernicus and Galileo were all men of the church and one can notice that many of the current opponents to the idea of extraterrestrial life are also men and women of a church. Their claim is that because God did not mention other worlds and aliens in the Bible, that we have proof that there are none. This here is a dichotomy. How can one say that aliens don’t exist when a god, a being of great power exists outside of this world in a place called “heaven”? That indeed sounds quite alien to the unbiased reader.
Lastly, as mentioned, due to the size of the universe, we cannot logically expect to communicate directly with our cousins in the stars anytime soon, but that’s the importance of patience. As we discover new parts of the universe, new worlds and new galaxies, we will begin to understand more and more of our place in the universe. Hopefully as a whole, we will understand that the Creator of the universe created worlds beyond number and inhabitants therein as numerous as the sands of the sea.
featured image courtesy of chirpnews