Be it resolved: We are not alone in the universe


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K2-18 B, an earth-like planet with water vapour is spotted 111 light years away. An interstellar object christened Oumuamua flies through our solar system exhibiting characteristics never seen before in an asteroid. Scientists discover intriguing radio wave emissions coming from Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the sun. These are just some of a growing number of observations that have scientists excited about proving the existence of alien life. Statistical probabilities support this view - the Kepler Space Telescope has identified billions of planets theoretically capable of supporting life. To meaningfully advance the science of astrobiology humanity needs to abandon the longstanding and pervasive view that we are alone in the universe. Skeptics say that given the immense age of the observable universe there should be some evidence of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations, but instead all we hear and see is silence. These same scientists argue that the ability of a planet to make the jump from inanimate matter to life - known as abiogenesis - and then to stay alive and become intelligent - requires highly unlikely transitions. Earth and humans are special. Our existence represents an incredible fluke and the statistical probability of it happening elsewhere is all but impossible. In sum, we are alone.

Arguing for the motion is Avi Loeb, Astronomer and Professor of Science at Harvard University and a New York times bestselling author, most recently of Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth.

Arguing against the motion is Stephen Webb, a physicist at the University of Portsmouth, author of the best seller Where is Everybody, and presenter of the recent top ten TED Talk Where are all the Aliens?

Sources: Sky News Australia, Fox 35 Orlando, KSAT 12, Business Insider, PBS Space Time, World News, CBSDFW, MoleClues TV

The host of the Munk Debates is Rudyard Griffiths - @rudyardg.

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109 episodes