When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are humans that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
* * *
Last Sunday I posed the question: “Are we alone?” Is the human animal the only intelligent form of life in the universe?
(We could, of course, debate whether we are “intelligent.” But let’s set that aside.)
The post prompted many comments. Everyone agreed that thinking we’re the only intelligent life form in the universe is naive given the expanse and age of the universe (14.5 billion years and still expanding). In fact, innumerable intelligent beings may have already come and gone.
Still, we keep looking into space and emitting radio waves.
Hello. Anybody out there?
But as one reader put it, other life forms may be nothing like us—carbon based, or physical, or even on our wavelength. So it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack without a clue as to what a needle is.
Astrophysicist Avi Loeb, author of Extraterrestrial Life, cherishes our planetary home and our species. But he fears we’ve been too short-sighted given our likely extinction. If a pandemic or a nuclear or climate apocalypse doesn’t kill us all, the sun’s eventual demise will.
But, alas, all species are programmed to survive!
So Loeb and others are conspiring to disperse synthetic human cells (like dandelion seeds) throughout the universe hoping that one or more will alight on another habitable planet and propagate our species long into the future. “Panspermia” in reverse!
(I’m leery. I see reasons to keep us quarantined.)
Loeb was raised in the Jewish tradition. He learned about Eve’s defiant reach for knowledge. (Not even God would stop her!) Loeb also learned the creation story that proclaims human “dominion” over the earth.
But dominion is not domination. Dominion is a responsibility. (A lot of Christians sure misread that one!)
As one reader put it: Alone or not, Earth is our gig.
I don’t believe God “gave” humans dominion. I believe humans discovered their “divine-like power” to create and destroy, a power no other animal has.
Some take that power as a license to exploit and destroy. Others take it as a responsibility to creatively care for the earth and all that dwell therein.
It’s a choice.
We might even say, it’s an IQ test.
See Paula’s photo “Lenten Rose” on the home page. Posted March 21