Hi guys, Robert here. Just letting you know about a conversation I'll be having at the 92nd St. Y this Thursday. I hope you can come on by!
"People inevitably ask me," says Paul Davies, celebrated physicist,"Do you believe we are alone in the universe, or are there other intelligent beings out there somewhere?"
Davies is not only the author of some of the most compelling popular science books ever, he is an early and ardent supporter of SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, he now chairs of one its important committees, so you would expect him to say the universe is teeming with life and of course we will meet - or at least find a message from --- an intelligent life form some day.
So imagine my surprise when I opened his new book and found this :
"Do I, Paul 'The Scientist' Davies, think we are alone? As a scientist, my mind is open to new evidence and therefore not yet made up. I can assign some sort of probability for aliens to exist, based on sifting all the facts, weighted in turn by the relative importance I attach to the various arguments. When all that is put together, my answer is that we are probably the only intelligent beings in the universe, and I would not be very surprised if the solar system contains the only life in the universe."
Whaaaaat? This from a SETI guy?
This Thursday in New York City at 8:15pm at the 92nd Street Y on Lexington Avenue, I will be cross examining Professor Davies, reviewing the biological, cosmological, technological and spiritual arguments that led him to this startling point of view. I will also present him with the one "contact" or noise from deep space -- it took place on August 15, 1977, that the most conservative scientists, including (up to now?) Davies himself have never been able to explain except to say it seems like an intentional signal. If you are a member of SETI, you might want to be there. If you love Radiolab, I hope you can come. If you know a curious extraterrestrial who can fit into one human-sized seat, please ask it to come. We have ET discounts.