This week’s news from Planet Earth asks if other human-like civilizations are unlikely to exist, could there exist other forms of life – perhaps better suited than us to spread in the cosmos to when did we become fully human to when will the first human child be born in space?
In December, 2020 ex-CIA Director John Brennan said it was “presumptuous and arrogant” to believe there are no other forms of life than the ones on Earth referring to the recent videos released by the Pentagon of US Navy sightings of UFOs. “I think, some of the phenomena we’re going to be seeing continues to be unexplained and might, in fact, be some type of phenomenon that is the result of something that we don’t yet understand and that could involve some type of activity that some might say constitutes a different form of life,” he said on the podcast “Conversations with Tyler.”
But they may be billions of years older. Scientists are making predictions about the biological make-up of advanced, complex aliens, offering a degree of insight as to what they might look like.
Without mind, there might as well be nothing. Colin McGinn at the University of Miami, believes that no matter how much scientists study the brain, the mind is fundamentally incapable of comprehending itself. “We’re rather like Neanderthals trying to understand astronomy or Shakespeare,” McGinn observed in Consciousness and Space. Human brains suffer from a “cognitive gap” in understanding their own consciousness.”
Carl Sagan observed that the frontal lobe of the human brain, comprising more than two-thirds of our brain mass, is where “matter is transformed into consciousness.” Maybe, suggest scientists, we’ve had the story of human evolution wrong: that language evolved before our brains started getting larger (we have brains 3x the size of apes), and language led to brain size increase instead of being a result of it?
Many scientists believe that it is, suggests Paul Davies, theoretical physicist at Arizona State University and director of the Beyond Center, in The Demon in the Machine. Davies suggests that the Great Red Spot is an example of a “dissipative structure” first recognized in the 1970’s by the chemist Ilya Prigogine, who defined life as operating far from equilibrium with its environment and supporting a continued throughput of matter and energy.