The above gave rise to this thought:
I believe we are guilty of attempting to personify all possible forms of intelligence that may exist. Our own biases and limited understand seems to want to mold anything that can be civilized or advanced into our human prism. We expect for them to be bi-pedal, stand upright, and utilize technology to make their lives more advanced without even considering the possibility that they may not have human limitations that require the type of technological assistance we require. Additionally, an alien species may not be limited to the 5 senses we are limited to in experiencing and defining what reality is to us. They may have other senses we have yet to imagine and they may communicate in ways that wouldn't even reveal to us that they were even sentient beings. We would do well to come to grips with the ideal that what we have or can even imagine may only be but a small fraction of what exists or of what is possible within existence.
Hell, non-alien species aren't limited to the 5 senses we have. Ask a shark.
You are right; we look at the rest of the universe through human-colored goggles, and I think it is important for us to recognize that. At the same time, however, I do see the value in making certain bias-laden assumptions when engaging in an exercise such as 'searching for life'. As I said before, with what can be reasonably called 'life' (which is yet another
interesting topic of discussion), we are kind of flying blind as we do not have any real knowledge of what the true constraints are, or rather, what actually is
necessary for life, in general, to exist. In order to make any kind of search meaningful
, we've got to put some constraints around what it is we are looking for. Things like 'presence of water' or 'presence of organic material' are, in a sense, artificial constraints brought about by our own hubris. But we've really only got 1 data point (Earth-like life) to extrapolate from, and we have to have some
kind of starting point.
So I do think it prudent for humanity to make some biased assumptions when trying to find
alien life. But until a)
a coherent, agreed-upon definition of life is established and b)
the requirements and constraints for what would or would not enable said life to exist is determined, we need to keep in mind that it's possible that we just plain don't recognize
alien life when we see it.