Majority of Humanity Say We Are Not Alone in the Universe

A survey in 24 countries published on the occasion of The Last Jedi Star Wars movie

Since the early days of humanity people are fascinated by the mysteries of the universe and the possibility of life on other planets. Space opera movies such as Star Wars, Star Trek and Avatar are immensely popular and Star Wars is one of the highest grossing films of all time. Early this year NASA announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized worlds orbiting a star in the constellation of Aquarius. These worlds are possibly warm enough for water sustaining life. Now the worldwide Glocalities survey reveals that the majority of people around the world believe in the existence of life on other planets. The survey results are released at the eve of the new Star Wars saga ‘’The Last Jedi’’.

Glocalities report on humanity belief in the possibility of life on other planets

The research results went viral after the publication of the news article "Are Earthlings alone?" by Reuters.

The Glocalities study on the existence of alien life was completed among 26,492 people from 24 countries (see appendix for details) and reveals that:

  • 61% of people believe that there is some form of life on other planets. 17% rule this out and only 22% say that they don’t know.
  • 47% of people believe in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations in the universe. 26% rule this out and 28% say that they don’t know.
  • 25% believe that the first form of life on earth arrived here from another place in the universe. 39% do not believe this and 36% say they don’t know.
  • Of the 47% people who believe that advanced alien civilizations exists, 60% say that humans should try to get in contact with these civilizations. 21% say that we should not try and seek contact and 19% say that they don’t know.

People who believe in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations have a typical values profile:

  • They are highly interested in science and have faith in technological progress
  • They are open minded, tolerant, value freedom and have an anti-authoritarian mindset
  • They are holistic thinkers who believe that all things and phenomena are interconnected
  • They believe that our dreams and imaginations create the reality we live in
  • They are interested in politics and plea for political transparency

Martijn Lampert, Research Director Glocalities says:
"People who believe in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations are not a marginal minority, but constitute a large (47%) and a distinct segment of unconventional and anti-authoritarian thinkers with a passion for science, technology, culture, politics and the arts. Based on their fascination for science, arts, and life in the universe, we characterize them with the term Homo Universalis."

"The recent discovery of exoplanets is likely to fuel the interest of people in learning about the mysteries of the universe and possible life forms on other planets. If and when the discovery of life on other planets is confirmed by the scientific community in the coming years, it is likely that this group will become more and more engaged in the debate about the future of humanity and the place of planet Earth in the universe."

"The high score on the belief in the existence of extraterrestrial life and the typical values profile of believers in intelligent alien civilizations partly explains the immense popularity of space opera movies such as Star Wars. The fascination with the mysteries of the universe offers mankind a never-ending story to research, develop and experience."

There are striking country differences in the belief in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations (see figures in Appendix):

  • Russians, Mexicans, and Chinese are more likely to believe in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations than Americans.
  • Dutch, Indonesian and Turkish citizens are the least likely to believe the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations.

To learn more about the reasons behind this first-ever global study on alien life, you can read the article "Values-based research reveals: The search for extraterrestrial life fascinates billions" by Martijn Lampert.


Author

Martijn Lampert

Research Director

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