reply to post by Nohup
Oh dear, Nohup. You're usually dead on target, but once in a blue moon you come up with a wild shy like this and make your friends worry about
Lack of evidence is just that. No evidence. You can hypothesize about some wonderful "virtual" evidence out there just waiting to be found,
but that don't make it real.
No quarrel with any of that. It reflects my own views perfectly. But when you add this...
Or even possibly real.
...you go too far, I think.
There are, as the OP's wonderful find demonstrates, a lot of stars in the universe. In our own galaxy, we're finding planets in orbit around so many
of those stars that many astronomers now regard planetary formation as a standard phase in the stellar life cycle.
And the only planet we know very much about is literally lousy with life.
Given these facts, the sensible hypothesis is that life is relatively common - perhaps extremely
common - in the universe. It is neither
logical nor scientific to assume a priori
that it is not.
Don't forget that logic and science alike are based on the assumption that nature is consistent. That is why we can use the yardstick of
replicability to test hypotheses by experiment.
In the present case, what we now know about the universe allows us to say with some confidence that life is more likely than not to be found on at
least some other planets. We can say this precisely because we expect nature to be consistent.
You say - I paraphrase - that if it were ever established that only Earth harbours life, it would make us someohow even less special. On the contrary,
it would make us very special indeed. It would make the inhabitants of Earth's biosphere the sensory apparatus of the entire universe, and in us
humans would reside its consciousness. Thus, at least, to the contemplative minority; to the rest, it would suggest simply that the universe was made
for us. Human exceptionalism, once put Earth at the centre of the universe; science pulled us out of that hole, and I neither expect nor hope that it
will put us back in again.
I don't know if there's other life out there. Maybe there is. But I prefer not to just believe in it because there are a lot of stars and
planets out there.
No-one expects you to believe in it as an article of faith. But an intelligent, educated person (such as I know you are) should be able to accept the
very strong likelihood of it.