Thought of the Day

I don't believe in morality, but I believe in ethical conduct as set out by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: "Ethical conduct = a way of behaving that respects others’ right to be happy".

Sunday, 11 November 2007

a new home for et phone home

i have always believed in the existence of et (phone home) for two reasons:

1. i find too presumptuous the thought that we are the only human beings populating the infinite universe.
2. since i am religious (in my own way) and believe in the symmetrical perfection of the universe, as a manifestation of a supreme force (a sort of divine providence offering a reading key to those sensitive enough to perceive its divine work), i am convinced that our solar system is not an anomaly.

this inner belief called faith (i.e. you either have it or not) has been supported by the discovery of more than 260 other worlds orbiting stars over the last ten years.

a more interesting discovery was announced by the NASA last week: a "giant alien world circling a distant star may be a second earth-like planet capable of harbouring ET life". scientists believe they have found a twin to our solar system in the constallation of cancer, 41 light years away. five new planets have been spotted orbiting a star called 55 cancri, which is just visible with the naked eye. each planet would bear similarities with *our* own planets jupiter, neptune, saturn, etc. the significance of this discovery is that the new planet, 55 cancri f, is the first known outside our solar system to spend its entire orbit within the so-called *habitable zone* where it is not too hot nor too cold to support liquid water. it is believed to be located a bit closer to its star than the earth to the sun, but its star appears to be feebler.
unlike in copernicus and galileo galilei's times, when the heliocentric cosmology was a devastating news for the christian world and put in danger the homo faber fortunae suae belief system, to think that we are not alone and that our sun and its family of planets are not unusual should not be perceived as a catastrophe in our modern times, but as a sublime (bearing some terror element in it) example of the divine quality of our milky way. however, i am not sure how this is compatible with the holy scriptures and what the religious institutions' dogmatic response to this news will be. but little this matters to me.

« Grandissima mi par l'inezia di coloro che vorrebbero che Iddio avesse fatto l'universo più proporzionato alla piccola capacità del lor discorso. »
(Galileo, Opere VII)

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