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Are We Alone?

Date: 05-08-04
Host: Art Bell
Guests: Guillermo Gonzales, Whitley Strieber

Professor of astronomy and physics, Guillermo Gonzales discussed the odds of life in the universe and explained his Privileged Planet hypothesis. According to Gonzales, the places in the universe that can host intelligent life (like Earth) are also the best places for viewing and analyzing the universe. He believes such "privileged" places are extremely rare in the universe.

To prove his point, Gonzales refactored the Drake Equation -- a mathematical method to determine how many intelligent civilizations are in our own Milky Way galaxy. After citing a less than 1% chance of intelligent life Gonzales concluded, "In my opinion, we're alone in the galaxy." He went on to say that while there could be as many as one billion civilizations in the rest of the universe, "we're probably alone."

Gonzales asserts that the chances for intelligent life increase greatly if the universe was designed. This is because "the Designer would have created the conditions for life on other planets." This does not necessarily mean there are other civilizations, but it certainly opens up more possibilites than a purely materialistic view of the universe, Gonzales said.

Climate Change

During the first hour of Saturday's show, author Whitley Strieber joined Art to discuss climate change and the upcoming weather disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow, which he recently wrote a best-selling novelization of based on the film script. Strieber said a confluence of evidence now indicates that a global superstorm, like the one depicted in the upcoming movie, has happened in our past and ushered in an ice age within minutes. As evidence he pointed out that mammoths have been found frozen solid with vegetation still in their mouths. Further, ice core samples taken from a glacier in Peru show that soft tissue plants were "quick frozen" 5,200 years ago.

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