Week 7

Intelligent Extraterrestrials?

Most physicists think it is better to be smart than stupid. If they are correct, we should expect aliens with technological intelligence. But if so, where is everybody? Most biologists are not convinced that human-like intelligence is a convergent feature of evolution. Paleontology supports the biologists.

Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe
by Simon Conway Morris, 2004, Cambridge University Press

Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History
by Stephen J. Gould, 1990, Norton, New York

The Structure of Evolutionary Theory
by Stephen J. Gould, 2002, Harvard University Press, Cambridge

Paleontological Tests: Human-like Intelligence is not a Convergent Feature of Evolution
Charles H. Lineweaver, 2009, From Fossils to Astrobiology. Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology, vol 12. Springer, Dordrecht (DOI:978-1-4020-8837-7_17 | arXiv)

Carl Sagan and Ernst Mayr debated the question...