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Are we Alone?

Author / Publisher : Paul Davies
File Letter : yellow dot
Topic : PHILOSOPHY
Comments : Published 1995

 

Since ancient times, people have been fascinated by the idea of extraterrestrial life; today we are searching systematically for it.  Paul Davies’ book examines the assumptions that go into this research and draws out the startling implications for science, religion and our worldview should we discover that we are not alone.

Current research projects are using radio telescopes to try and ‘eavesdrop’ on messages being sent by advanced alien civilizations. Yet if we do manage to receive such signals, or even discover bacterial life on Mars or a meteorite, evidence of the existence of extraterrestrial life would confront us on many fundamental questions.

Has life spread out from a single source or arisen in several places independently? Is it a ‘miracle’, an improbable accident or an inevitable result of the laws of biology and physics?  Is there a purpose, a general trend from simple to complex, from microbes to mind, built into to the scheme of things?  And what would the existence of conscious and intelligent aliens tell us about ourselves and our place in the universe? For generations, such issues have been classified under theology or science fiction; Paul Davies demonstrates how they are now being illuminated by scientific reasoning and hard-headed research.

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