Before it was discovered in physics, the 'universal' assumption was that physics is deterministic and therefore the mathematics one uses in physics, should always give a predictable result. This was clearly falsified when the differential equations used in describing weather forecasts, demonstrated extreme sensitivity to initial conditions and prevented prediction. That is the butterfly effect.
Until Lorenz, no Physicist realized that such unpredictable behaviour would show up in a phase space that was relevant to physics, and that it was generated by such a simple and physically motivated differential equation.
In your lightning example, no-one could predict from atmospherical physical theory, that lighting would occur on Venus, Jupiter etc - at all ! 'Twas entirely up to empirical science (direct probe observations), to make this discovery. That it actually did occur, is irrelevant when one could not predict it from constrained theory in the first place.
There is no reason to assume that the same would not apply in the case of the belief about extra(exo)-terrestrial life. There is nothing science can say which validates any belief based on speculative 'predictions'.
… That it is a complex system in theory, which includes chaotic behaviours and the reality that comes with them ie: unpredictability !Originally Posted by Colin Robinson
It doesn't matter what anyone conjures up, the reality is that the presence/absence of it elsewhere, is entirely unpredictable. Everything implying that life might have emerged elsewhere, is nothing more than wild imaginings, and nothing better than sci-fi. This is not merely my opinion ...(!!)… this is a consequence of the lack of empirical evidence from which prediction must be based.
Such beliefs are tantamount to outright denial of the known general behaviours of the broader class of physical systems, which accurately characterise biology !!
'Believers' should explain why life, (and its origins), should be specifically excluded from these !!??