One of the characteristics of modern society is our desire to believe that we aren't alone in the universe. It seems every other week we hear a false-alarm story about life on Mars, Titan or whichever celestial body is in vogue. And decades of listening for messages from outer space have identified precisely nothing. With no evidence to suggest life is out there, and with the maths and the Drake equation actively pointing to our solitude, why are we so determined to maintain our belief in extraterrestrial life?

Is our desire to believe in alien life a desire to avoid being alone in a scientific universe?  A replacement for God perhaps in a secular world.  Or is it an avoidance of the precious character of life on earth?  Or is it just a matter of time before we uncover life forms if not in our own solar system on other exo-planets. 

Professor of Evolutionary Biochemistry Nick Lane, revolutionary astrophysicist and Pulsars discoverer Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Harvard Scientist and New York Times bestseller Avi Loeb debate Alive in the Universe.

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