Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Alien vs. Ghost

I sat down to watch the television several days ago only to find that a new series of ‘Most Haunted’ was on, despite my strong opposition to psychic mediums claiming they can communicate with the dead I decided to watch it. I never realised how much of a comedy it was!

Getting back on to the subject…I wanted to explore the believability of ghosts and aliens and ask the question which are more believable? Aliens and ghosts are two very ambiguous terms; I feel that when people hold a belief in aliens in this context they are referring to an intelligent life form and not merely the existence of single celled organisms. I would refer to a ghost as an apparition of something that was once alive, whether it is a person or an animal.

People like to believe in ghosts because they were once human and it gives them an explanation to the afterlife. It requires no effort to visualise ghosts because they represent the human form, whilst aliens require some imagination. This still applies today, but would have been more relevant in past before the portrayal of aliens in television and film.

As regards to aliens, by the presence of humans on Planet Earth that is evidence that life exists in the universe and so the existence of one more life form for example would not appear shocking and seems quite plausible. A planet must have just the right conditions to have the capability of sustaining life, one of them is that the planet must have liquid water which is caused by an atmosphere. There are many other factors that we believe are essential for life to form and the term we give to a planet which fits them is a Goldilocks planet. Aside from that, astrophysicist Dr Frank Drake presented an equation which allows an estimate for the number of intelligent civilisations in our galaxy:
Many believe that because the universe is so vast that surely there must be more intelligent life forms than just us. In a later post I will be talking about the Fermi Paradox, the contradiction between the calculations showing a high probability of extra-terrestrial civilisations and the lack of evidence for them.

In reply to the question ‘do I believe in aliens or ghosts?’ I would say I don’t believe in any because believing in something is accepting it as a truth which I don’t. I would however say that I believe there is a higher probability that aliens exist, many scientists believe that it is likely that there are other forms of life in the universe, but that is not the same thing as "believing in aliens."

As a tribute to Carl Sagan, a great astrophysicist who would have celebrated his 78th birthday last Friday here is a one of his quotes. 
“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” Carl Sagan 

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