“Since stars appear to be suns, and suns, according to the common opinion, are bodies that serve to enlighten, warm, and sustain a system of planets, we may have an idea of the numberless globes that serve for the habitation of living creatures.” -William Herschel
When you look up at the stars in the night sky — bright and dim, young and old, near and far — can you help but wonder which ones of them might house life of any variety? And if so, how similar or different it might be from that on Earth? It’s one of the greatest as-of-yet unanswered questions in all of science.
And yet, PZ Myers is at it again, reducing the whole thing to some silly “absurd astronomers vs. intelligent, nuanced biologists” meme, like so.
The thing is, we can be honest about what we know and what we don’t, and make reasonable conjectures about what we think there is to find out there.
When all is said and done, what do we think are the prospects for alien life in our galaxy? Go read the whole thing!