Do you believe in aliens, or, rather, do you believe that alien life exists on other worlds? If you do, you are not alone. A Dutch study has revealed that roughly two-thirds of humanity believes that some form of life exists on other planets and just a little less than half of those surveyed believed “intelligent civilizations” exist.
Daily Mail reported this week that results from a study conducted by Netherlands-based Glocalities helps to shed light on the continuing popularity of such film franchises as Star Wars, a series of science fiction movies hosting a plethora of fictionalized aliens and civilizations which was launched in 1976 that has enjoyed enormous popularity going into its fifth decade. The study, which included 26,000 respondents in 24 countries, found that 47 percent of respondents believed “in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations in the universe.” But intelligent or no, participants believed in the existence of “some form of life on other planets.”
The research also indicated that about a quarter of respondents did not believe in intelligent life outside of Earth.
Glocalities research director Martijn Lampert explained that the results aided in helping understand the longevity of popular outer space-based films. “The high score on the belief in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations and the distinct profile of these people partly explains the immense popularity of space movies such as Star Wars,” he said.
“People who believe in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations are not a marginal minority.”
Despite being seen as the province of nerdy, geeky, or tech-savvy individuals for decades, science fiction and the idea of alien life — and intelligent alien life and civilizations that might arise therefrom — now have become somewhat mainstream.
In a separate part of the study, researchers asked 500 individuals their thoughts on contact with aliens and how they perceived the discovery would affect their fellow humans. Most respondents stated they would feel positive about the discovery of aliens. However, those same participants said they believed that most others would not welcome the discovery.
The Daily Mail pointed out that such an outlook toward contact with aliens existed even though there have been warnings from scientists and experts that contact with an alien civilization may not be beneficial to humanity. It was noted that famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking suggested that humans should be wary of contacting alien civilizations, likening a potential first contact with aliens to Columbus’ contact with Native Americans, where, as he put it, “didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.”
Some aren’t nearly as concerned with the possibility of belligerent aliens, though. METI (Messaging Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), an organization that hopes to contact intelligent alien civilizations elsewhere in the universe, recently made headlines by sending a message to an exoplanet orbiting a (relatively) nearby star (12 light years away). According to Fox News, the message, should it be received and perhaps answered, would likely take two-and-a-half decades for it to get back to Earth.
The country with the highest number of believers in intelligent alien life was Russia (68 percent). Mexico and China also had high percentages. On the bottom of the list was the Netherlands, home of Glocalities, which posted 28 percent.
The massive study was conducted between December 2015 and February 2016 and employed 15 different languages.
Another recent study revealed that if extraterrestrials are ever discovered, alien life more than likely will have evolved along the same lines as humans, which in no way indicates whether or not contact would be beneficial or detrimental to humanity. Research from the University of Oxford, as reported by Fox News, indicated that aliens, much like humans, will likely be the product of natural selection, rising to their dominant and intelligent state by being best suited to operate in and manipulate their environment, not to mention produce offspring to allow continued existence.
As for Star Wars and its depiction of aliens and alien civilizations, the ninth movie of the franchise, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, is scheduled for its cinematic release in mid-December.