You know, perusing the Internet and the rapidly diminishing other "free" media outlets, I encounter a LOT of stupidity in the world, and one of the superlative examples of stupidity is the notion that MATH and SCIENCE comprise a "universal" language... Heh.
Have you seen any raccoons playing Lotto? They're pretty damned smart, but I haven't seen any animals playing Human number games.
Hell, there's no reason whatsoever to think that Human Math and Science are Universal.
I mean, there are creatures right here on Earth who are far more organized and technically accomplished than Humans, and they never pick up a pencil.
The Insects and Arachnids, for examples, perform feats of architecture
and engineering that Humans can't even begin to replicate.
A lowly spider, for instance, can single-handedly produce a silken
compound from its abdomen that is 6 times stronger than steel, and use
construct the proportionate equivalent of a 100-story building in just a
few hours. That same spider can then chemically modify its versatile
silk to trap live prey many times larger than itself. That same spider can then use its silk to manufacture para-sails and actually fly away
on the breeze.
The spider has thus mastered chemistry, architecture, hunting and
aeronautics, and done so WITHOUT Science or Math or any of the other
skills we associate with intelligence.
Now, imagine an alien "civilization" that functions the way spiders do. Or termites. Or ants. Or locusts.
These creatures might excel in chemistry and engineering and aeronautics
and perhaps even space travel without EVER understanding the Periodic
of the Elements or Organic Chemistry or Calculus or anything else that
we associate with intelligence.
There are countless organisms on Earth alone that can spontaneously produce light
from their own bodies. There are terrestrial organisms that
can produce powerful (even lethal) electrical charges, for that matter.
There are complex life forms on this planet that can survive with ice
crystals in their bloodstreams.
And think of this — we clever Humans haven't even discovered all the life forms on Earth... At present, we have direct knowledge of only
about 10 PERCENT of the life on this planet. That's right, some 90% of the Life on this world is still out there in the oceans, and we don't
know anything about it.
What we do know is that all these millions of diverse life forms are NATURALLY capable of the most astonishing feats of survival without an
inkling of an idea of Human Science.
What should this tell us?
It should tell us that the great majority of Life in the Universe is capable of the most amazing feats of survival and engineering without EVER understanding Human Logic, Human Math, and Human Science. Without a doubt, there are creatures out there in the vast depth of Space that DWARF Human technology into insignificance, and they do so NATURALLY, without any sort of Science whatsoever.
Just because WE Humans are highly adaptable doesn't mean that another intelligent life form MUST necessarily
meet our adaptive expectations.
Other intelligent life forms might, indeed, SPECIALIZE in such a way as
to develop very highly advanced propulsion and other engineering
they might be able to do so through instinct alone, with no adaptive
behavior, with no math or science.
As do spiders.
If we venture into space on a quest to locate near-human intelligence as our ultimate objective (as in Star Trek), we're going to be
very, very horribly surprised. I mean, I don't think we're mature enough as a species to be contemplating interplanetary colonization.
Ha. We need to learn how to live within our means, to live in balance with our resources on planet Earth. And, no, I'm not going to grow a beard and get fat and drunk and turn into Al Gore on you.
ALL we absolutely know for certain about LIFE is that it sort of
POPPED into existence about half-a-billion years after the Earth was
I hate to keep reminding you all, but there is no evidence that there is any Life anywhere else in the Universe. We simply have
not sampled LIFE beyond Earth. If it's out there, we don't know about it.
And that's the hard Scientific stance.
Sure, there may have been nano-bacteria on Mars three billion years ago, and there may be some sort of marine life on Europa (just give
us a worm, for Godsake), and there MAY be extremophile environments everywhere from Venus to Jupiter to Saturn to Neptune.
But we just haven't found it....yet.
Finding Life outside of Earth is like finding WMD in Iraq. Hey, we KNOW it's out there. Just haven't found any trace of it.
Hey, I think that Life Happens as an inexorable electrochemical
opportunity anywhere that it CAN happen. Everything else is necessarily
and the perpetuation of species, to be sure.