Scientists don’t yet know how life emerged on Earth. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection explains how life evolved once it emerged, but it does not explain how life emerged in the first place. But science presses on. One of the main challenges in figuring out how life emerged from chemistry is defining what life is. […]Read more "Information and the Emergence of Life"
It’s a common trope in science fiction. We make first contact with an alien species. Either we’re more powerful than they are or they’re more powerful than we are. Either intentionally or unintentionally, the stronger of the two wreaks havoc on the weaker. The trope is taken from pretty much every human encounter with a […]Read more "The Ethics of First Contact"
So here’s a cool combination of fields: neuroscience and astrobiology. Let’s call it “cognitive astrobiology.” What is cognitive astrobiology? It can take several forms. The first is figuring out how to communicate with extraterrestrial life. The SETI Institute, devoted to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, has a resident psychologist on board, Douglas Vakoch, whose job […]Read more "Cognitive Astrobiology"