We Are Not Alone


This is the site where we try to discern the truth of things by the use of available information, pure logic, and absolutely nothing else. You may be surprised by some of the results.

Irrational belief systems, wishful thinking and straightforward confirmation bias find their way into many aspects of our intellectual and political lives. The world of scientific investigation, sadly, is no exception in this respect, but in this site an honest attempt is being made to show what things would look like without all that misleading baggage.


Ok, in recent years there has been a lot of stuff in the media, propounded by scientists and professors and the like, that seems to completely defy the laws of logic and is, at the very least, extremely misleading. A lot of this seems to spring from a peculiar piece of nonsense called:

Screen shot 2019-04-28 at 14.41.58

The Drake Equation.

In the early sixties, Frank Drake and a group of scientists got together and came up with a way to calculate the number of alien civilizations that are currently broadcasting their existence to the rest of the universe and it took the form of the following equation:

N= R* fp ne fL fi fc L


N = The number of civilizations in the Milky Way Galaxy whose electromagnetic emissions are detectable.

R* = The rate of formation of stars suitable for the development of intelligent life. [10]

fp = The fraction of those stars with planetary systems. [0.5]

ne = The number of planets, per solar system, with an environment suitable for life. [2]

fl = The fraction of suitable planets on which life actually appears. [1]

fi = The fraction of life bearing planets on which intelligent life emerges. [0.01]

fc = The fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space. [0.01]

L = The length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space. [10,000]

After each of the explanations of what each of the terms represent, I have placed in brackets, the number that the scientists decided would be most likely to be the correct quantity involved.

So if we input the numbers we get this:

N= R  x  fp   x   nx  fx   fi   x   fc     L

       10  x  0.5   x    2   x  1   x 0.01 x 0.01  x 10000 = 10

So therefore according to Drake, the other scientists and their equation, there are 9 other civilisations in our galaxy alone that are currently broadcasting their presence, with electromagnetic emissions and are therefore detectable.

So why do I have the temerity to suggest that it is a piece of nonsense you may ask?

Well the answer to that question, I would say, is because of the facts, and with your permission I would like to set them out below.

If we go through the equation the first thing we come to is an ‘R’ representing ‘The rate of formation of stars suitable for the development of intelligent life’ and given the value 10. For me this figure actually appears to be on the low side and, besides that, strangely ignores the fact that many stars exist for billions of years? But this is not anything to do with the reason why I object to this equation.

Next we come to ‘fp’ representing ‘The fraction of those stars with planetary systems’ and given the value 0.5. Well, in view of subsequent astronomical observations, it looks as though this figure may be on the low side as well, but once again it is not the subject of my objection.

Then we come to ‘ne’ representing ‘The number of planets, per solar system, with an environment suitable for life’ that is given the value 2. Now I could object to this value in a number of different ways but, in the interests of brevity, I will leave this highly speculative figure uncontested.

The real problem starts here with ‘fl’ representing ‘The fraction of suitable planets on which life actually appears’ that is given the number 1. You see, this whole equation masquerades as some sort of statistical analysis of the probability of alien life existing within our universe and broadcasting etc. But, as any statistician would tell you, when you only have one example of something, in this case only one example of a planet with any life on it at all, you are completely unable to perform any form of mathematical analysis based on this one single example of this event. So the correct number that should appear representing the value of ‘fl’ should actually be ? I.e. completely unknown. Insufficient data!

Next we have ‘fi’ ‘The fraction of life bearing planets on which intelligent life emerges’. But as I have explained above, we have only one example of this and therefore value for ‘fi’ should also be ?.

We have the same problem when we come to ‘fc’ ‘The fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space’. With just one example of this event the correct value for ‘fc’ is therefore ?.

Finally we have ‘L’ ‘The length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space’. Do I even have to explain to you why I think this makes no sense? Quite apart from the fact that we have only one example of a civilisation releasing detectable signals into space, we also have absolutely no evidence to suggest how long, in our particular instance, this process might continue or even if it might, of necessity, begin, elsewhere, at all!

So the Drake equation, in my opinion, is more the product of wishful thinking than the result of anything like rigorous scientific investigation and, in spite of how it may appear, it is not, in any way worthy of being considered the product of rigorous mathematical calculation. It only looks like maths.

So to clarify things I would like to propose the following as an axiom.

2 times x= 2x but 2 times ? does not equal 2? . Just as anything times 0 equals 0; anything times ? = ?

As the Drake equation, expressed correctly, contains at least 3 question marks, the correct product of the calculation must therefore be ‘?’.

Now in defense of Drake and his contemporaries, I think I should say that it might be that the Drake equation was only ever really intended as a sort of stimulus. A way of getting people to think about the problem, but what I object to is the way that, on many occasions, it has been represented as a sort of mathematical proof of something. I think the only thing that this equation proves, beyond any reasonable doubt, is that we just don’t know.

You see, if one accepts what I’ve written above, then one must automatically also accept the rather disappointing possibility, that in spite of the vast numbers of stars and planets that exist and have existed in our vast universe, logic would dictate that it is possible that the odds against intelligent life appearing on any of them is equally vast. If this is true then the ‘Fermi paradox’ (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox) is no paradox at all. The answer to Fermi’s question ‘Where is everybody?’ therefore logically, could be; HERE!

So instead of looking to the skies and wondering why we can detect not the faintest shred of evidence of alien life, in spite of the fact that we know, because of ideas like those expressed in the Drake equation, that the universe is teaming with millions of civilisations, perhaps we should set aside faith like beliefs and return to what I consider should be an axiom in all scientific investigation. If there is no evidence to suggest that something is there, then logic would dictate that one must assume that that is because it is not there!

Apparently all faith has the potential to be misplaced, including faith in what scientists say!

Screen shot 2019-04-28 at 14.41.09

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This: https://www.amazon.com/ADRIANA-Mark-Angelo-Lusardi/dp/154961990X

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Okay I have been answering questions on ‘Quora’ a lot, but the problem I’m finding is that people are asking the wrong questions. What about the big stuff I wonder. People often try to answer the difficult ones by simply going with their ‘gut instinct’ etc, “I feel I am loved by a higher power, I know I have been given a purpose, I choose to believe….” but I would like, within this site and as a sort of experiment, to try and derive the answers to all questions, be they large or small, simply by the use of pure logic. The way Sheldon Cooper might! (Please hear the rest of this blog in his voice.)


So to the first question:


People have been asking this question because it is a subject that is broached in my brilliant novel ‘Adriana’ [ see http://www.lusardibooks.com ] It is a fictional work and therefore not everything within it should be taken too seriously, so please don’t, but more than that (no spoilers) I would prefer not to go into here!

Rather than answer the question ‘are we stardust?’ I think it would be more instructive to ask the question in a different form. ‘Is it reasonable to state that we are; and is it reasonable to state, as often is the case in the media, that all of the matter constituting our bodies was created within a star?’

If you were to count all of the atoms that constitutes what one might call ‘conventional matter’ (Baryonic matter) in the universe (ignoring, for the time being, strange stuff like dark matter and dark energy) then you could represent the entire distribution of the elements within the universe, in the following manner.


Which probably goes some way to explaining why, constituting the human body, the atomic ratio of the elements is as follows:

untitled 3Life uses what is available! We are mostly water, H2O!

So what is the point of all this?

Well it seems extremely unlikely that any of the hydrogen atoms, in your body, were originally made by a star. You see, just as kids destroy pizza, stars destroy hydrogen; it’s their primary fuel.

[ see   http://www.astro.keele.ac.uk/workx/starlife/StarpageS_26M.html ]

But there’s more. Whilst it is very easy to see how carbon could be represented as being dust, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen? None of these elements do we normally associate with dust as they, in their pure atomic state, spend most of their time existing, at least on earth that is, as gases. Sure you can combine hydrogen and oxygen to make water. Oxygen will combine with lots of other stuff too. One could accuse me of being a bit of a nitpicker with this complaint but why dust? Is it supposed to make someone think of fairy dust perhaps? How absurd!

Finally there is the question of the origin of the subatomic particles involved in all matter that we observe. You see, no proton, no neutron, (the building block of matter and us) for example, was ever created by a star. For their origin you need to go back to the Big Bang. The material that makes up all of atoms that constitute us, and all the physical things that surround us, is actually very nearly as old as the universe itself and pre-dates the existence of any star!

So the next time you see a well-known professor (like the good ‘Prof Colin Dicks’ in my book) staring up at the sky with tears in his eyes, whilst pronouncing on the glorious revelation that we are all stardust, do please remember that those tears he is crying, consisting mostly of two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen, may be made of atoms, the majority of which have never been anywhere near a star. (Personally I blame the song.)

By the way Joni Mitchell wrote that one and did an absolutely terrible version of it!



A Star Is Born

untitled 4 Whithin a huge cloud of……..err Stardust?

Well that was a pretty good rant. I hope you enjoyed it. I know I did, but you may be asking yourself, was there any point to it. Well I believe there was, so here comes another one.

You see nearly everyone I know is now walking around thinking that they are star stuff. I imagine them lying in the baths looking down at their belly buttons in awe and wonder, amazed that the entirety of all of them was created within the heart of a star.

The problem is that sooner or later, perhaps due to someone like me, people are going to realise that the statement ‘we are all star dust’ that is currently being broadcast, throughout the media on a regular basis is, at the very least, a little misleading. Perhaps an attempt is being made to beguile, the assumed to be completely ignorant public, with pseudo-poetic insights, but I thought science was all about discerning the truth of things. Wouldn’t it be better if these people left poetry to the poets and concentrated on understanding and then disseminating the actual facts?

So why is that important, one might ask? Well, of course, the truth is always important but doubly so in our modern world. You see, serious scientists are warning us about global warming, seas polluted with plastic and toxins, the destruction of the rain forests, the possibility of a nuclear or biological holocaust or the extinction of humanity brought about by a celestial event, such as the one that took out most, but not all of the dinosaurs. The list goes on!

Just look around you. People applying scientific principals have been getting at the truth of things quite well haven’t they! Could you build the screen you’re looking at? Yet we live in a world full of people, some of them politicians, who seem to think they know better:

untitled 7untitled 6untitled5

screen shot 2019-01-09 at 14.51.36   The problem is that we need to be listening to what the real science is telling us, but when the so-called experts in the media talk, what in the fullness of time can be shown to be a load of old tosh, then they play into the hands of the conspiracy theorists and trumped up doubters like those indicated above. Everybody who has a vote, has a vote regardless of what they know or understand and every politician isn’t necessarily expert at anything other than perhaps making speeches. So it is important that when the voice of science is heard, it imparts clear and accurate information that we can all, always trust. Break that trust and you create a void that can be filled with the sort of dogma and ignorance that this world has been plagued with for far too long and at a time when we  no longer have the luxury of simply believing whatever suits us. A time when our collective ability to understand the true nature of our situation may prove to be a significant factor in determining whether our species (made of stardust or otherwise) actually has any kind of long term future at all.

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Maybe this:


Or maybe this:





We Are Not Alone

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#Science #Reality #Stardust #Sci-Fi #Truth #Brian Cox #Adriana #Mark Angelo Lusardi

Next blog: The Drake Equation

Apparently we are surrounded by intelligent life thriving throughout the universe. That’s good to know isn’t it!