What is intelligent life?
When we speak of “intelligent life” we need to define what that entails. For example, bacterial life is not intelligent. But what about a dog? Suppose we found a dog like creature on a planet. It can respond, be happy, be angry, even be loyal. A dog is certainly not a bacteria. A dog is certainly intelligent in the sense that it has a brain.
So what is intelligent life? Had there not been a cataclysmic asteroid striking Earth, our planet would likely still be ruled by dinosaurs. Dinosaurs had brains. Were they intelligent life?
Evolution is all about survival of the fittest. After the dinosaurs vanished, an unlikely ape-like creature stood up and eventually her descendants evolved into humans. Why? Because at the time, brains beat brawn.
So although self-aware, mathematically inclined, space-faring humans walk on this planet, there is no guarantee that similar creatures might inhabit other planets. There might be planets with germs, plants, jelly-fish, dinosaurs or where human-like critters once roamed but died out long ago.
However, the law of probability does suggest there are other people similar to us out there somewhere, though likely so far away we and they will never know for sure. There are billions of galaxies with billions of stars and billions of planets orbiting those stars. If we could find even a fossil of an extraterrestrial microbe it would be nice, but as of yet we have no proof life exists anywhere else in the universe other than Earth. Still, we think it’s likely someone else is out there.