Paul Davies’ new book The Eerie Silence is good overall, and probably great for someone who hasn’t read ten other SETI books. Two gems: 1) Perhaps our descendants will not be forced to adopt future ways:
"In spite of these dampening facts, belief in extraterrestrial life is now widespread among scientists. So what has changed since the days of pessimists like Crick, Monod and Simpson? Curiously, very little on the actual scientific front. … None of the scientific discoveries of the past half-century have greatly altered what we know, or don’t know, about life’s seemingly freaky nature. "
What about deep-sea vents, discovered in the last 50 years? Every time I hear about them, people always say "this has great implications for where life might develop!" <-- obviously layman analysis.
Isn't your point B minimized by his point 2?
People should probably not use the phrase "infinitesimal chance" in technical contexts.