Saturday, October 27, 2018

A little melancholy thanks to Hawking

My wife has a headache this morning.  I'm missing her as she rests in bed.  The house is very quiet.  

I've just read a chapter called Is There Other Intelligent Life in the Universe? from of a new collection of Stephen Hawking writings called Brief Answers to the Big Questions.

Now my head hurts.

What Hawking says comes as a bit of a surprise and and I must say a little disheartening.  Perhaps on a more optimistic day, I would say what he says makes me feel very special indeed.

I've been listening a lot to a wonderfully insightful podcast called Make Me Smart with Kai & Molly and a question that they regularly pose is What's something you thought you knew but later found out you were wrong about?

Well, I've always had a strong belief (perhaps not a knowledge) that there was a high probability that we were not alone in the universe.  I had always thought that with the millions (billions) of galaxies in the universe, the chances of there NOT being a place like Earth that had some form of intelligence life has very low.  

But I think Hawking had a different view of the question and let's be honest, he's smarter than I am.  From Hawking I gathered that the chances that the apparent random possibility of the creation of DNA, mixed with the right timeframe, mixed with the chance of avoiding a asteroid collision, mixed with the fact that not all suns have planets and lastly, the chance that intelligent life has emerged from that DNA - that all points to very, very small odds.  Not to mention the fact, that if there was by chance, other intelligent life out there (at this point in timeline), then they are so far away, we'd never know.

And that's why I'm a little melancholy this morning.