But probably not Spider Robinson, which is my point. I don’t know what kind of research or verification brainquote does.
Kind of amusing. . .
I did a quick google and found this sentiment attributed to Arthur C Clarke, Arthur C. Clark :), Sir Arthur Eddingdon, Buckminster Fuller, and Carl Sagan. Clarke is by far the most often cited.
The two possiblities are variously described as: terrifying, mind-boggling, staggering, or overwhelming.
In an actual, like, book, Ben Bova attributes it to Lee DuBridge, but again, no date, no context. The phrasing is “Either we’re alone in the universe or we are not; either way it’s mind-boggling.” He notes that this quote has also been attributed to the comic strip character Pogo. :smack: DuBridge is also said to have uttered similar remarks at a 1966 extraterrestrial life conference,
and this highly reputable source puts the conference in spring, in Califorinia. Both accounts give the phrasing, “Sometimes I think we are alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we are not. In either case, it’s a staggering thought.” None of this indicates that it was an original sentiment, of course. Lee DuBridge was the president of Caltech from 1946-1969 and science advisor to President Nixon from 1969-1970.
That’s the firmest attribution that I’ve managed to find, and I’ll admit it’s pretty flimsy.