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I found this quote From Arthur C. Clarke a couple of weeks ago and haven’t stopped thinking about the quote is “ two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” Which  one would be the most terrifying to discover? I don’t want to get too deep in this subject but thought would be an interesting topic to discuss not sure what type of “life” it would be though. If we discovered something.

one of the downsides of reading about cosmology is that once in a while ( or most times) you get the existential depression :). But it’s one of the most fascinating things to read about.

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1 hour ago, MarsG76 said:

Personally, I imagine it would be more terrifying if there was no life outside of earth...

That’s how I’d feel as well.

Edited by Dinoco
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I'm going to be boring and say that I don't really get emotional about the answer one way or the other. I'm not dismissing the question, it's natural and entirely justified, it's just that I think we have enough problems to solve here, and most of them if not all of our own making. 

 

Jim 

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We are already experienced at being on the only known inhabited planet. From being practically alone to being truly alone is not that big a step. It should not frighten us too much.

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18 hours ago, Dinoco said:

...Which  one would be the most terrifying to discover?

Well, if there were NO other life sources in the universe, we would never truly "discover" that as we would have to search pretty much for ever to prove it. :)

I'm 50/50 on the matter. It's common for people to say the chances are there's almost certainly lots of suitable planets, but I'd also accept an argument that life getting started is actually massively unlikely, and we're the only planet that ever developed it.

Both cases are pretty mindblowing (not terrifying), but logically one of them must be true.  I don't mind which as they both have something interesting to say.

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16 hours ago, goodricke1 said:

Same here. It would mean we were put here supernaturally for unknown reasons.

Or just that life started from nothing is really, really, really, REALLY unlikely ;) 

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Personally I think there must be something else out there somewhere, but the possibilities of finding it are negligible, certainly within our lifetimes. I think we're are just separated by too much space, and most likely time, for contact to be made. All it takes is for a civilization to have developed and the fallen anytime outside the last 50 years and we would have missed it.

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At our current level of technology, we are not going to be the discoverers. It will take a much more "advanced" civilisation to do that. Based on the history of our planet of the effects on a less advanced culture of being encountered by a more advanced one, I would be quite happy never to find out the answer to this question!

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19 hours ago, Ruud said:

We are already experienced at being on the only known inhabited planet. From being practically alone to being truly alone is not that big a step. It should not frighten us too much.

.....and the chance of us finding other life - or it finding us - is so small that we are, in effect, alone anyway.

What is more scary is that the Earth will eventually be swallowed up by an expanding Sun!

Doug.

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