A study revealed that the appearance of life on Earth, though it was far from a guaranteed event, was a probable. The odds of intelligent life forms, however, were a bit on the lower side.
Facts And Mystery
The shocking study was run by David Kipping, an astronomer from Columbia University, who examined the likelihood of humans being the only intelligent life forms in the Universe.
Though our technology is out of the ordinary and our understanding of science is far beyond the deepest layers of matter, we still haven’t found evidence of life outside of our planet. No trace of an extinct civilization like ours has been observed.
Scientists have concluded that a list of various facts is responsible for that. One possibility is that aliens existed but are already gone, or maybe we don’t see them.
However, that speculation is mostly based on a particular hypothesis – That it makes sense for life to flourish somewhere else than Earth, especially considering that the Universe is continuously expanding.
“Despite having no observational data concerning non-terrestrial life, we are in possession of stronger constraints when it comes to life on Earth,” Kipping wrote in his publication.
Kipping examined the likelihood of life and intelligent life forms developing on Earth before humans were even developing as a race.
He used a statistical method known as Bayesian inference. That method originates from the filed of math known as statistics, which uses probability to determine subsequent information, often producing accurate results than just analyzing sets of concrete samples.
Kipping wasn’t the first to follow such algorithms, but he decided to make some changes to the usual formula, which led to a few conclusions.
To put it simply, he based his procedure on the proven evidence that intelligent life showed up roughly 4 billion years after the first forms of life on Earth.
Kipping analyzed a few possible scenarios for the evolution of life on Earth.
- Life is ordinary and often develops intelligence
- Life is ordinary but rarely develops intelligence
- Life is rare and rarely develops intelligence.
The Amazing Conclusion
Kipping found out that the case for life taking hold on Earth rapidly is very likely:
“On this basis, we can conclude that even with the most conservative date for the emergence of life, a scenario where abiogenesis occurs rapidly is at least three times more likely than a slow emergence,” he said, mentioning that if you take into account the earliest evidence of life on Earth, the odds become even more impressive.
“If the more ambiguous evidence for an earlier start to life is confirmed, this will increase the odds to a factor of nine, representing a relatively strong preference for a model where life would consistently emerge rapidly on Earth if time were replayed,” he added.
If his conclusions are correct, statistically speaking, the conditions on our planet were optimal for life to unravel, but that doesn’t imply that intelligent life would follow to develop.
He noted that the probability of the existence of an intelligent life form is very rare, and there’s a high chance that our planet “lucked out.”
The odds speak for themselves:
“Overall, we find a weak preference, 3:2 betting odds, that intelligence rarely emerges given our late arrival.”
That is almost a 50:50 chance, though only theoretical, it’s still imposing.
Unfortunately, Kipping explained that his work couldn’t be reproduced to analyze the chance of life on other planets, since there are many variables involved, and a lot of those are specific to our world.