Two Princeton astrophysics professors have concluded from their studies that the expectation of extraterrestrial life “might be based more on optimism than scientific evidence,” announced a press release last Thursday.
Edwin Turner and David Spiegel, who conducted the research, used Bayes’s Theorem of probability to mathematically test the assumption that life exists on other planets. As it turns out, we may have let ourselves get too excited about E.T.
Joshua Winn, a physics professor at MIT, said that he had been optimistic about the search for extraterrestrial life before he learned of Turner’s and Spiegel’s results. ”Now I’m not so sure,” he said, “though I think scientists should still search for life on other planets to the extent we can.”