17 June, 2024


Alien Intelligence Very Likely Exceeds Ours

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

We are not alone; stupid! US govt. grudgingly admits hiding UFO records; Alien intelligence very likely exceeds ours

“One day we might receive a signal from an alien planet but we should be wary of answering. Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus. That didn’t turn out so well” – Stephen Hawing

There are 10,000 stars in the universe for every grain of sand on earth. In 1961 a chap called Frank Drake proposed what became famous as the Drake Equation (DE). DE attempted to predict the number of detectable intelligent civilisations in our galaxy. Let me give you a schoolboy version. Say water and air are the only things needed for life and suppose that in some cluster of fifty million (50,000,000) stars the probability of finding suitable exoplanet planets orbiting a star is 0.01. Say also the probabilities of finding water and air on such planets are 0.005 and 0.002, respectively. Then by multiplying these four numbers together we can estimate the number of stars which are candidates for life; in this example it is five.

Drake used different factors. They were seven; rate of star formation (R*), fraction of planets with solar systems (fs), fraction of systems with habitable environments (ne), fraction of these on which life can evolve (fl), fraction of life which is intelligent (fi), fraction of these with civilisations (fc), and length of civilisation (L). The probabilities available in those days were poor; better estimates can be made now. In any case Drake only pointed to an idea; much better techniques are currently used. The biggest difference is that astronomers now estimate there are 100 billion stars in the Milky Way and there are 100 billion galaxies, making the total number of stars in the universe about 10 to the power 22 (1022).

The Original Drake Equation

Most cosmologists won’t conjecture a number for planets which may bear life, but I won’t be far off the mark were I to say: There are a thousand-billion exoplanets (planets orbiting ‘other’ suns) in the universe which are potential candidates. And there is another point to consider; the universe is fourteen billion years old (from the big-bang) but the age of our sun is only 4.6 billion years. Lots of suns which may have had life bearing exoplanets have burnt away and more are still to be born. Homo sapiens evolved on this pad just 190,000 years ago, and the way we are setting about things we won’t last much longer. In any case our sun will turn into a red giant and engulf the earth in four billion years. 

That brings me to the flag raised by Stephen Hawking at the top of this piece. Life could have evolved elsewhere in the universe long before it did here and intelligence may well have arisen thousands or millions of years before it did here. Phew! What if superman turns up on our door-step and put us to use like we do battery-hens or laboratory rats? 

Well we can hope that Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity (SR) is true for all time and that General Relativity (GR, simultaneously but somewhat independently formulated by Einstein and David Hilbert) is not. SR assures us that nothing can travel faster than light. Aliens if in the Milky Way may be up to 100,000 light-years away and if on another galaxy billions of light-years away. To travel at even 1/100-th the speed of light (just over one million km per hour) an alien would have to be from a technically super-super civilisation. At this speed an alien would need 10 million years to get here from his/her/its home if on the other side of the Milky Way and need hundreds or thousands more time if from a distant galaxy. And by the way, do aliens have a gender? If not how do they procreate? Maybe they subdivide like amoeba. Not for me thanks, I’d rather be human and male.

The supermassive black-hole at the centre of the Milky Way | Photo courtesy news.sky.com

GR however upsets this complacency. It implies that space-time consists of more dimensions than the four (don’t forget time) of which we are aware and also says that space-time is “curved or folded” in the vicinity of large masses. Black-holes too were predicted by GR as a deformation of space-time before they were actually observed. A black-hole devours everything crossing its boundary (event-horizon) and no one has worked out where all the stuff goes. They have been detected consuming big stars and this may be happening on a massive scale. No one has a clue where the “other end” of a black-hole is or what it excretes. These remarks are in preparation for the next para. 

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”; so consider worm-holes. “Wormholes, predicted by GR, are theoretical passages through space-time that create shortcuts across the universe”. Imagine a worm that wants to get from one side of an apple to the other. Instead of crawling round the surface if it bores through the apple, its path will be shorter, hence the name. If super-intelligent aliens have discovered how to exploit these shortcuts in multi-dimensional space-time, well maybe they could be knocking on our door rather sooner than welcome!

The US government long boohooed the credibility of phenomena of extra-terrestrial origin and denied investigating them. Gradually the onion began to peel and scoops in the New York Times of 16 December 2017 and the Washington Post two days later blew everything wide open. The US Defence Department admitted it spent $22 million annually to study UFO sightings and encounters with military and civilian aircraft. A former US Senate majority leader Harry Reid worried: “We don’t know the answers but have plenty of evidence to support asking questions”. Sightings are numerous and though the great majority have been explained as due to natural causes, there is a large enough residue to support alien visitation claims. A close relative of my wife, a world-class aviation-safety expert, concedes that one cannot completely dismiss the possibility that the MH370 disappearance was a case of alien abduction.

Phoenix Lights: March 13, 1997 from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. thousands saw strange lights,
unexplained to this day, over Nevada, Arizona and Mexico | Photo courtesy http:// ktar.com

There is nothing unscientific in supposing that life exists elsewhere in the universe; in fact the balance of probability is overwhelming that it does. Chemistry and body structure of aliens will be different from humans but three fundamental principles, gravitation, natural selection and relativity will surely remain secure everywhere in the universe. Eyes have evolved seven times independently on earth so it will be astounding if extra-terrestrial life forms have not evolved eyes sensitive to some frequency in the electromagnetic spectrum. 

Whether intelligent life exists and whether it has evolved into super-intelligence is something about which it is wise to keep an open mind. The actual dispute is not whether intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, but how on earth aliens could have reached our neighbourhood – oops “how on earth” did I say! Apart from our sister galaxy Andromeda, 2.5 million light years away, there are about 50 smaller “dwarf galaxies” in what is called the Local Group sited at distances of 25,000 to 4.5 million light years. There is no reason why life and intelligence should not thrive on Andromeda or dwarf galaxies. But there is no way of knowing with currently available instrumentation whether other galaxies of any size contain stars with orbiting exoplanets. Theoretically, the likelihood is nearly 100% ‘yes’.

Since it near impossible to observe exoplanets in other galaxies scientists confine their probes to our galaxy. The prime targets are red-dwarf stars (not to be confused with dwarf-galaxies) the most common star in the Milky Way. Red-dwarfs (10% to 50% the size of the sun, and about 2/3 its surface temperature) are good candidates for orbiting habitable planets. Over 3700 exoplanets have been found and more are added to the list each year. Scientific teams use computer models to predict air temperature, presence of water and other environmental factors and have concluded, so far, that about 10 in the Milky Way may have an ecology to support plant and animal life (Goldilocks planets). Another big plus in favour of red-dwarfs is that their lifespan is about 100 billion years while that of our sun is only 10 billion; so the probability of evolution having time to get its job done is ten times larger. Red-dwarfs within 30,000 lightyears are under scrutiny but no “Hello” greetings have so far been received.  

This brings me to a curious dislocation. SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) began plugging away half a century ago and so far has come away empty handed despite access to the best and biggest arrays of radio telescopes. Fast Radio Bursts (FRB) of tremendous energy from distant galaxies have excited observers since 2007, but all but one have been one-of events so SETI has little to follow up. While SETI peers into deep space and finds it void of intelligence our neighbourhood suffers a UFO traffic jam. Why SETI and the UFOlogist community have failed to coordinate their activities is a mystery. Instead of a unified approach there seems to be an impenetrable wall between them.

The rational scientific view is that we are certainly not alone in the universe, but at the same time we have no idea how beings from other parts of the Milky Way or far away galaxies could have found their way here. There have been 4000 radar tracking, 3500 landing incidents and innumerable sightings reported. Maybe 90% are hoaxes or have innocuous natural expiations, but what about the 10%? A partial list of people who concede that earth has been visited by UFOs/aliens, or even otherwise that extra-terrestrial life exists in the universe, include Churchill, Kennedy, Ford, Gorbachev Jimmy Carter, Clinton, Prince Phillip, astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Gordon Cooper, numerous scientists including Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and Enrico Fermi, and US and British air, navy and army chiefs, some who have commanded UFO related facilities or operations. 

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  • 1

    You are explaining the Christian version of the cosmology which considers only the material side. Theoretical Physics or Theoretical Astro physics are not Rational. but you can not say not Rational. Because, everything you can understand is rational and those that can not understand is not-rational. Anyway, go to India and see sculptures which talk about Alien beings (e.g NAGAs from the space). Understand Astronomists look for the existence earth-like inhabitable plants. Read buddhist Texts which talks about sahasra-Choolanika loka dhatu which is 10,000 times larger , – than the earth yet beings just like humans are living. Scientists considered only the materiality of everything and di dnot include Consciousness. So their every went wrong. CRICK in the Watson-Crick DNA model also talked about including Consciousness in the material experiments. Now , many theoretical physicists use Consciousness to explain the double slit experiment and in India eventhe young graduates present different versions of that experiment because consciousness is included in the explanation. In finidng new earths some scientists also have gone out of the way and have found very large planetary systems about the size of Jupitor that are capable of inhabiting humans. Another point is buddhism explains earth destruction by Water or flood, fire and outright disintegration. Scientists have found such water filled “earths” which are good for human living. I suspect those planets may be in the transition phase of earth detruction by water.

    • 0

      Prof. Kumar David,

      RE: Alien Intelligence Very Likely Exceeds Ours

      They certainly exceed the intelligence of the Ulama by orders of magnitude.

      Arab Muslim Scholar says Islamist & Muslims Countries are lazy then Non Muslim Majority Countries


      Arab Muslim Scholar says Islamist Countries are lazy then Non Muslim Majority Countries, as those are developed with their Intelligence, professionalism, Invention methods, Technology and Education and with good Religious Education.

      • 0


        I wrote “By the way another study stated Tamils are genetically closely connected to Bengalis than the Sinhalese.” in my comment to Liyanage on September 2, 2018 under Protest March Against Mahaweli Colonization.

        Liyanage now requests the link or detail of the article.
        Do you remember the article that we used quote often a few years ago?
        Could let me have the title or the link to the article.

        Thanks a lot.

  • 7

    Dr. David
    “Red-dwarfs … are good candidates for orbiting habitable planets.” I never thought you’d take such a cheap shot at your favourite velichcha wattakka in a (mock?) serious scientific presentation to the learned readers of CT.

  • 2

    God only knows…………………………….Oops…….the truth.
    Who is God by the way – is he the creator of this bedlam?
    Those who pray to him (why not ‘her’ ) daily, will know.
    It would be interesting to know what percentage of cosmologists are ‘religious’.

  • 2


    The late Prof. Cyril Ponnamperuma, when he was interviewed by some science magazines and his college newspaper, said, ” I would bet my bottom dollar that extra-terrestrial life exists.”
    He was approaching this as a bio-chemist who tested meteorite fragments and found elements essential to life. But he wasn’t a physicist.

    It is possible that such life exists, but the search for extra terrestrial life is largely a waste. Even if they existed, they wouldn’t be responding to the technology that earthlings have designed.

    • 2

      You are dead right.
      Discussion of extraterrestrial life has thus far been pure speculation of little significance to a humanity that is still unable cope with issues relating to its survival.

    • 0

      ” Even if they existed, they wouldn’t be responding to the technology that earthlings have designed.”
      Yes, looking for radio signals from other galaxies is pointless. They would be useless for communication if they take hundreds of years to get here.
      This would be rather like an ancient Sri Lankan listening for drum signals from space. Or the grooved record stuck onto Voyager 1.
      What an advanced civilization woud use could seem like magic to us, as Arthur C Clarke once said.

  • 0

    Part I Kumar David “Alien Intelligence Very Likely Exceeds Ours”
    Kumar ~ “US govt. grudgingly admits hiding UFO records;”.
    Do you believe it stupid? Yes as school children we believed it. Perhaps your grand children do. Now we know that US govt. do not have any records. Whatever they have is cooked and cooked badly!
    ~ “Alien intelligence very likely exceeds ours”.
    The humble virus is able to ‘collectively’ beat our anti-biotics. How do they work this out? Are the humans more intelligent? How do the virus reproduce?
    Then you attribute something to Stephen Hawing. It is not Haw Haw Haw stupid. It is Hawking, Hawk Hawk Hawk!

  • 0

    Part II Kumar David “Alien Intelligence Very Likely Exceeds Ours”
    Seriously Kumar
    Some elements combine into molecules. (Some do. Some do not. Why? I do not know!) The molecules combine to form chains, these into longer chains and so on. Some chains reproduced themselves. Some of these chainy chain of molecules led to living beings as we know. Likely hood of this happening elsewhere is almost certain. But the end product will be almost certainly different. Perhaps the ‘alien’ may visualise in four dimensions. They may have different equivalents of life, death, war etc.
    Empirical observation is that bodies tend to revolve round bigger bodies. Speculations on exoplanets is not rocket science. First exoplanet was confirmed in 1992. Today we have 3823 and more confirmations by the week. These confirmation do not bring food to our tables.
    Exolife exists but looking for them is a bloody waste.
    More seriously Kumar David
    When did you go into this exostuff?
    Is it treading Arthur C Clarke path? What other Clarke traits do you find ‘good’?
    By the way in Lanka we associate GR with GotaR like OJ with OJ Simpson.

  • 1

    “Alien Intelligence Very Likely Exceeds Ours”.
    Speak for yourself, David. We are a bit better than the aliens (who were not smart enough to find us yet).
    Look for something better to write about, if you are desperate to fill your time.

  • 1

    Useless subject.

    Finally an unseen god will be the winner.

    So searching reason for life is better than searching for extra celestial life.

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