Wednesday, November 11, 2009

more like neil deasse tyson

I've been watching various youtubes of Neil deGrasse Tyson, and he said something I hate to hear: "It's super arrogant to believe there isn't any life elsewhere in the universe." (Not an exact quote.) Don't get me wrong. I love Mr. Tyson. Every night I fantasize that he'll knock on my door and we'll explore the unknown together. That's why I find it so distressing that he said this thing I hate. I've heard the same thing so many times, from so many different people, on TV, in person, on the net, that I've forgotten the first time I heard it. It was probably from Carl Sagan. All I remember is that I was an innocent young mind who had a similar sentiment. There's got to be life out there, among those sextillions of stars.

The part that fills me with rage is when they call the person with the opposite belief "arrogant." These bastards are so sure their answer to an unsettled scientific question is the right one, that they're ready to diagnose the character flaw that would lead someone to the opposite answer. Fuck you, Neil deGrasse Tyson!

While I hope there's life out there, I'm neutral on the question of whether there actually is. I don't think there's enough evidence either way. That's what makes it interesting, I think. No, "titillating" would be a better word, because when we do find that evidence, it will be even more interesting. I'm sure you've heard the pro-life side of the argument billions and billions of times, so I'm going to advance the fence-sitting side. We don't know the odds of life forming under any conditions. Not empirically, not theoretically, not at all. That should settle it right there. When someone says, "But there are so many stars!" that's an argument from vividness. They might as well be saying, "But I can't imagine a probability lower than 10^-22!" (That's one out of all the stars in the observable universe. Presently, it's the empirical probability that a star will bear life.)

I just realized that I'm calling a certain belief arrogant. Fuck you, me!

Meanwhile, my life is being ruled by The Electro Gypsy. I must have listened to it billions and billions of times now.

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