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The Plurality Of Worlds Essay

1635 words - 7 pages

The search for extraterrestrial life is not doomed to fail. Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle's "Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds" (1686) makes this abundantly clear. However, the author's approach of the subject is totally different from the approach of scientists today, who discuss again and again the possibility of the existence of life beyond earth with specific formulas such as the Drake equation. The scientists and writers who discuss the plurality of worlds today do not deal with the "imagination" as much as de Fontenelle did. Neither do these scientists and writers feel the need to include philosophy in their discussions about the possibility of the existence of life beyond our planet. Moreover, de Fontenelle uses "conversations" to explain his reasoning behind the belief that there exist "an infinity of worlds with inhabitants." If the author's work had been written in our own time, we would include it among books such as Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which uses facts and fiction to explain the author's philosophy. All the same, de Fontenelle's work is strictly of his own time, seeing that it even mentions that our moon is inhabited! Of course, we know now that the moon is not inhabited. After all, we have more scientific evidence backing up our discussions on the plurality of worlds than de Fontenelle had.Still, de Fontenelle's work is essential to scientists who are only beginning to understand a certain aspect of our universe. Philosophy is the mother of science, according to many. Besides, the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Babylonians, Indians, and Sumerians had all believed in the existence of extraterrestrial life, even if they were principally focused on angels and demons in their belief. The Jewish Talmud stated that there are at least eighteen thousand other worlds. Hindu belief also revolved around multiple worlds in contact with each other. The Muslims' Qur'an says, "All praise belongs to God, Lord of all the worlds" besides mentioning angels and jinns ("Extraterrestrial Life"). Thus, scientists have enough support from historical and religious traditions of humanity to keep on searching for extraterrestrial life - that is, on other worlds. This search may go on until humanity takes a quantum leap, or hits the point of a breakthrough in its endeavor. After all, most of the scientific discoveries and leaps did not occur without persistent efforts and firm faith in the fact that we will eventually make it through. Besides, scientists are some of the most persistent and confident humans on earth today, who know that they will make it through. On the other hand, de Fontenelle appears a little doubtful in his conversations about the plurality of worlds, seeing that he has to convince others about why he believes in the plurality of worlds. The scientists of today need only inform the public about their endeavors in finding evidence.We have reached a certain point in our understanding of the plurality of worlds by...

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