More Life The Universe And Everything
An exerpt from an email to cousin John Tom
Zach's Web Log
I do say with lots of hurricanes and even large Indian Ocean earthquakes we
are getting a reminder of just how fragile our ecosystem on this planet is.
And there is good evidence that the actual size of such events is
astronomical as compared to what we have seen in just the past 100 years or
so. It does make you think that civilization (not to mention intelligent
life) may be a very, very rare occurrence in the cosmos. Conditions have to
conspire to be just right for the emergence of it and then must remain just
right for it to get to the point we enjoy here or earth. The longer we
'last' the further out the distribution we find ourselves.
If you ponder on it for long you can get quiet lonely thinking that we may
be essentially alone in the cosmos.
I am by nature a very optimistic person and am always looking for ways to
avoid being depressed and lonely.
For this reason, and I've read things recently that support this; I think
there is good deductive evidence that intelligence (i.e. consciousness) is a
naturally emergent behavior of any sufficiently complex self organizing
system. And such systems are common and naturally arising features of the
You do not necessarily have to have complex carbon-based DNA type life (as
we have here on earth) to get this but it comes 'for-free' all over the
place. I can not, of course, prove any of this but I think a proof will be
forthcoming either in my lifetime or the lifetime of my children as we will
certainly make 'first-contact' with these types of systems, we may even wind
up creating such a system in our quest to invent 'artificial-life'.
I further think that many people will immediately proclaim that we have know
about all this for thousands or tens of thousands of years and as evidence
offer up man's continuous belief in the divine or supernatural. And that
faith and religion are just our intuitive knowledge of what we will have
proved in the near future.
This, of course, assumes that some event of 'astronomical' size does not
stop our curious quest of all this in the meantime.