If we are, in fact, alone in this universe, there are two ways to look at it. First, the way you concluded: "it would behoove us to take good care of each other and of the planet we call home"
From another perspective, in all of those trillions of stars out there, if we are alone, then we are such a small component of the whole as to be completely insignificant. We are a tiny spec of dust to brushed off and never thought of again.
"Don't Panic" is the ultimate piece of advice given in "The Hitchhiker"s Guide to the Galaxy" (author: Douglas Adams). Also, according to "Deep Thought" (the most powerful computer in the universe), the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is 42.
I don't know the source for this one: "Either we're alone in the universe or we aren't. Either possibility is mind-boggling."
Personally, I like the theory that we're a bunch of tiny Whos or mere 3-dimensional creatures who are incapable of understanding what's really going on. We may also have a ridiculously fast sense of time, and the Elder Gods or whatever work on such a long time scale that nobody around here can tell that things like the speed of light are very slowly changing.
I also like the theory suggested by Anne Elk at Daily Kos: "Watching the dominant species self-destruct on planet after planet may be God's version of Breaking Bad."
[Subject line is obscure reference to Billy Wilder's One Two Three (1961).]
There's a great book by physicist João Magueijo called Faster than the Speed of Light (2003), which proposes that considering C to be a slowly-changing variable rather than a constant solves a number of cosmological questions. The book also tells you what a "cosmological question" is. Faster is written for non-physicists and includes how the author got into theoretical physics in the first place, what he was doing when he got his flash of insight, and is a marvelous exposé of modern academia -- especially the sciences. Those parts are hilarious and depressing at the same time.
Would you be willing to write a book review on it for EE Times? We'd love to have it in our Engineer's Bookshelf section? Contact Caleb Kraft to submit book reviews -- that goes for all of you engineers out there.
Strange things happen when you read too many things in one day. Just before reading this blog, i had finished my daily dose of news through newspaper and now i wonder if we are alone in this universe (even for assumption) then does it make sense to fight for petty issues that politicians usually divide us and can't we all live in peace and harmony if we are so intelligent. If we look at our evolution then our history is not so peaceful and is full of massacres and wars. Even today, we have more than half population who lacks basic needs. Thinking about all this i think we cannot be (and hopefully not) alone in this universe.
wilber wrote: ... does it make sense to fight for petty issues that politicians usually divide us and can't we all live in peace and harmony if we are so intelligent?
1. Tip O'Neill used to say: "All politics is local".
2. From Eric Idle's "Galaxy Song" in The Meaning of Life (1983):
So remember when you're feeling very small and insecure How amazingly unlikely it is your birth And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space, Because there's bugger all down here on Earth.
The reason the population is exploding is not because the birthrate is above the replacement, but because we all are living longer. The birthrate is actually in sharp decline. On the otherside of the 2050 'bump' in population there is a sharp decline in persons alive. This is why today's leaders in Russia and Japan, for example, are aking couples to have babies!
The truth is we are headed for a population decline on teh otherside of 2050. (Check the WHO website for validation)
The argument that the earth is overpopulated and unable to feed the population is a 200-year-old myth which persists.
So relax, and go hug your kids! Remeber, without them, old age would really suck! ;)