Well I would personally certainly not rule it out, even if some might argue that we, from a more critical point of view, still seek intelligent life on our own planet.
One might even argue that the whole universe can be seen as a superorganism, trying to understand itself. Something like an enormous bee hive or ant colony, with some regions more conscious than the others. At the same time a good reason for not hurting others, since that would just mean hurting ourselves. Don't know how to link to other threads in an elegant way, and perhaps it is not a good idea to do so in general, but this has significant bearing on the subject I'd say (this is heavy reading but please give it a try if you have some spare time):
Originally Posted by Geonat
As for cloaking technology, which I think was mentioned somewhere in this thread, it already exists, albeit at its early stages. For submarines (i.e. acoustics) there is certainly a well-developed theoretical framework for active supression of scattering signatures (realtime system of microphones that pick up probing signals that are then sent back out-of-phase with loudspeakers in order to extinguish the reflections from the hull). For electromagnetic signals - well that is most likely a hot topic in many countries' defense programs. And completely testing that technology in situ without getting the attention of the public may be problematic.
Edit: Discovering extraterrestrial intelligence would of course be the greatest discovery of all times, but it would still not be entirely satisfactory from a "philosophical" point of view since it would just move the "problem" from one planet to another so to speak.
We're now discovering that there are Earth like planets in other solar systems, though they are difficult to explore since they are far from our own planet. By Earth like planet I suppose what is meant is planets with signifiacant amounts of H20 and reasonable temperatures.
We're also discovering Mars has traces of water in it.
This leads to the possibility of their being life, but intelligent life - thats a whole other ballgame.
We dont really understand what "intelligence" fully consists of. It occurs in humans but also in other animals to a lesser degree. "Intelligence" allwos to systematize and control our external envornment, but also allows us to cooperate, communicate, and interact with other intelligences.
I think that if there is intelligent life, and its superior to our own, they will find us first. But if we are superior, we will find them first.
All in all, I dont really know, but its an interetsing question nontheless.
Considering how goddamfuckinghuge the universe is, and how common the basic core factors that are needed for life seem to be on planets discovered over the past decade, I think it's reasonable to expect that somewhere exists intelligent life.
As to whether we will ever find any, unfathomably unlikely.
Actually if you look at the issue of life(and intelligent one) its not just about the planet being in front of a right sized sun at the right distance and all the common elements. Intelligent life doesent form from bacteria alone or even from more developed forms of life that is consisted of multiple cells. For example a collision between earth and some large object in the early formation of the planet has been most likely a requirment for life to form on this planet. Earth has unusually high content of iron, which makes it a heavy planet(thickest density in our solar system). There needs to be a one animal that is at war with itself(like tribal wars) before the animal can gain intelligence(fighting stupid animals doesent require intelligence to develop past a certain point). etc etc
But as you mentioned, the universe IS large, so its impossible to say anything for sure. But i would be surprised if there was no life at all besides us in the universe.
"Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
— C.G. Jung
Also as others have said, what exactly is "intelligence" and how would we recognize it if it were far advanced of our own or a completely different type?
Yeah, while it's only a theory (albeit one from brilliant pioneers in Quantum Physics) Bosonic String Theory posits 26 dimensions. Who's to say any one of these dimensions requires a classic UFO disc to come, and beam down green martians.
Maybe intelligent life communicates through dreams, or high doses of psychedelics, for example.
This is all speculation, MUCH of which is based on personal mystical experiences, but I haven't discarded it as quackery.
I've had this ice cream bar, since I was a child!
Each thought's completely warped
I'm like a walkin', talkin', ouija board.
Extraterrestrial life - intelligent life, at that - most likely exists.
I am concerned, though, about our prospects of ever making contact with such life. Have you ever had one of those dreams where you desperately need to get the attention of someone, but no matter how much effort you put into it you cannot produce a single decibel, touch them, or make them notice your gesturing before it's too late? It's a bit like that. We send a letter to a planet that might be able to support life as we know it - "Hey! We're here and we're desperate for some company!" - but the letter either arrives after the party has ended, its mistaken for trash and discarded, or most likely there never was a party to begin with. This is the consequence of the current physical paradigm: Mankind is almost certainly going to meet its end having never found a partner.