Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Ignorance of Journalists

Today has seen many stories relating to a proposal that the reason we have not discovered other intelligent life is that Earth may be one of the first planets to have developed life. Of course, the reasoning behind the theory--that larger stars are too short-lived to allow life to develop in the habitable zones--is pure speculation since we have only the scantiest details as to conditions in other star systems. Arguments over whether intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is a priori, similar to the old arguments of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. We lack the data to confirm or deny the existence of intelligent life elsewhere.

However, while one can debate the reasons we have not found evidence of intelligent life elsewhere, there is no excuse for stupid statements like this in a Gizmodo article on this topic. The author of the piece begins the story by writing (underline mine):
So far, the only examples of sentient life we’ve found are right here on our own planet. It’s not for lack of trying, though—we’ve sent out spacecraft deep into the reaches of our galaxy and, so far, still remain alone. 
We haven't sent any spacecraft "deep into the reaches or our galaxy." The only spacecraft to have left our solar system is Voyager 1, and even that is questioned. It would take our fastest spacecraft tens of thousands of years to reach even the closest star to our solar system. God has created worlds without number, but they are too far away for us to know anything about them.

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