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Where is Everybody?

February 14, 2016

Recently, a physicist at MIT, Jeremy England theorized that “…the more likely evolutionary outcomes are going to be the ones that absorbed and dissipated more energy from the environment’s external drives on the way to getting there.” England reasons from this that creation of large molecules necessary for life occur whenever certain conditions are met, that self-replication and greater structural organization are mechanisms by which a system could dissipate more energy. In other words, life does not violate the second law of thermodynamics and the more evolved we are the more chaos we create in the universe.

Now, of course, this is merely a theory and I have no way of knowing if it has been peer reviewed or replicated. But let’s assume that it is correct. Then of course, once these molecules are formed, the rules of evolution (whatever they may be adaptation, mutation or thermodynamic exchanges) apply. Among the things this may mean, two stand out to me. The first is that life is simply the extension of the mathematical model of the universe with at least a phase of ever greater complexity. This may give some comfort to those who believe in an eschatological universe that I will touch on later. Another option, however, is that life is little more than a quantum parasite.

The second point, if the study is true, implies that life must be capable of developing and evolving in a similar response in many environments, certainly within the Goldilocks Zone and perhaps elsewhere. So given the number of years the universe has been in existence, the fact that many star systems and galaxies are far older than ours and that there are over 120 billion galaxies each containing more that 300 billion star systems, where is everyone?

Sure we’ve listened conscientiously for energy waves from the cosmos containing some alien civilizations version of “Green Acres,” and sent out into the void our own tiny spaceships with pictures of naked men and women bearing a message somewhat like, “hey, how’re ya doin,” with no success in eliciting a response from what probably is a trillion civilizations out there. Why? Could it be they know what we are like and want nothing to do with us? Or, maybe no one is there and we really are alone?

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