This is a small survey with the aim to establish what people think about the possibility of life elsewhere in the Universe. I know that the true scientific answer many would like to write is that "we don't know", and that's certainly what my colegues and I say to other people for sure. Data is by far incomplete and there is no compelling evidence to assert anything grounded in scientific arguments, but there are educated guesses. Here I'm not allowing any agnostic answer, I want to know what people choose if they are forced to evaluate the odds, so here is the poll.
The poll consists of 14 questions/statements you have to rate with a score from 0 to 20 (0 meaning "I absolutely don't believe so" and 20 meaning "I'm certain about it").
- A1) There is or has been extraterrestrial life in the Universe
- B1) There is or has been extraterrestrial life in the Milky Way galaxy
- C1) There is or has been extraterrestrial life in the Solar System
- A2) There is or has been extraterrestrial complex life in the Universe
- B2) There is or has been extraterrestrial complex life in the Milky Way galaxy
- C2) There is or has been extraterrestrial complex life in the Solar System
- A3) There is or has been extraterrestrial intelligent life in the Universe
- B3) There is or has been extraterrestrial intelligent life in the Milky Way galaxy
- C3) There is or has been extraterrestrial intelligent life in the Solar System
- A4) There are different extraterrestrial intelligences communicating with each other in the Milky Way galaxy
- B4) Extraterrestrial intelligence has attempted communication with us.
- A5) There are different extraterrestrial intelligences in contact (physically interacting) with each other in the Milky Way galaxy
- B5) Extraterrestrial intelligence has visited Earth sometime in its past (since the origin of our planet)
- C5) Extraterrestrial intelligence is currently present in our planet or visits frequently (either with us realizing or not)
Procedure and important notes:
- The questions can be answered in this thread or by PM to me (if someone doesn't want to answer publicly).
- The score is not a measurement of how frequent you think something happens but a measurement of how conviced you are something happens at all. For example a score of 18 for extraterrestrial life in the Universe existing doesn't need to mean that the Universe is full of ET but that you are a strong believer that at least once there is ET life in the Universe.
- Some questions are logically related to others, for example if you believe that "there is extraterrestrial life in the Solar System" with a score of 15 it is not very coherent to state that you believe "there is extraterrestrial life in the Universe" with a score of 3. So to guide your final answer bare in mind these constraints imposed by the fact the Solar System is a subset of elements of the Milky Way galaxy that itself if a subset of the elements of the Universe:[math], [math], [math]
- Things like considering a high score for "there is complex extraterrestrial life in the Milky Way" while considering a low score for "there is simple extraterrestrial life in the Milky Way" are logically consistent and perfectly acceptable answers (that would mean that you think that complexity might not only evolve from simple life forms for appear all by itself and even be something more probable). But having a high score for "there is complex extraterrestrial life in the Milky Way" while a low score for "there is extraterrestrial life in the Milky Way" is not logically consistent since complex life is a subset of life (even if it is not a subset of simple life).
Having trouble with the ambiguities? Here are some definitions:
- Extraterrestrial life is not only meant to be life outside Earth (since that would make ISS astronauts fit the description) but also another life form independent of any evolutionary branch of Earth's biosphere.
- Life is losely defined. We are going to consider life any mechanism that can sustainably produce large amounts of entropy autonomosly, that is capable of homeostasis and can grow, thrive, reproduce and die by its own means. In that sense a virus will not be considered life.
- Complex life is life that is built by the cooperation of small living units (like cells) and the distribution of functions between its members to the point that no unit can live long independently. Animals, Fungi and Plants on Earth are considered complex life forms while Bacteria and Archea are not.
- Intelligence means also civilization, the hability to change the the surroundings by will and planning. In this terms not only our species fits the definition but also some sort of artificial intelligence and other hominids (Neanderthals, Homo Habilis etc...).
- Communication attemps in question B4) is regardless of whether we haven't realized, or have realized but not answered, or have answered but secretly, but in question A4) it is meant to be about bilateral communication.
I'm going to do the exact same pool on Imgur and other social media just to gather as many opinions I can and will show the results next year (probably) in a graphical form here in the forum. If you have any recommendations I welcome any ideas.
Take your time to answer and enjoy the thoughts!