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April 8, 2021 49 min
K2-18 B, an earth-like planet with water vapour is spotted 111 light years away. An interstellar object christened Oumuamua flies through our solar system exhibiting characteristics never seen before in an asteroid. Scientists discover intriguing radio wave emissions coming from Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the sun. These are just some of a growing number of observations that have scientists excited about proving the existence of alien life. Statistical probabilities support this view - the Kepler Space Telescope has identified billions of planets theoretically capable of supporting life. To meaningfully advance the science of astrobiology humanity needs to abandon the longstanding and pervasive view that we are alone in the universe. Skeptics say that given the immense age of the observable universe there should be some evidence of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations, but instead all we hear and see is silence. These same scientists argue that the ability of a planet to make the jump from inanimate matter to life - known as abiogenesis - and then to stay alive and become intelligent - requires highly unlikely transitions. Earth and humans are special. Our existence represents an incredible fluke and the statistical probability of it happening elsewhere is all but impossible. In sum, we are alone. Arguing for the motion is Avi Loeb, Astronomer and Professor of Science at Harvard University and a New York times bestselling author, most recently of Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth. Arguing against the motion is Stephen Webb, a physicist at the University of Portsmouth, author of the best seller Where is Everybody, and presenter of the recent top ten TED Talk Where are all the Aliens?  Sources: Sky News Australia, Fox 35 Orlando, KSAT 12, Business Insider, PBS Space Time, World News, CBSDFW, MoleClues TV The host of the Munk Debates is Rudyard Griffiths - @rudyardg.   Tweet your comments about this episode to @munkdebate or comment on our Facebook page To sign up for a weekly email reminder for this podcast, send an email to   To support civil and substantive debate on the big questions of the day, consider becoming a Munk Member at Members receive access to our 10+ year library of great debates in HD video, a free Munk Debates book, newsletter and ticketing privileges at our live events. This podcast is a project of the Munk Debates, a Canadian charitable organization dedicated to fostering civil and substantive public dialogue - The Munk Debates podcast is produced by Antica, Canada’s largest private audio production company -   Executive Producer: Stuart Coxe, CEO Antica Productions Senior Producer: Christina Campbell Editor: Kieran Lynch Producer: Nicole Edwards Associate Producer: Abhi Raheja
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