Eikonal Blog

2011.04.12

Fermi paradox

Filed under: astronomy, evolution, life, mind & brain, physics — Tags: , — sandokan65 @ 10:03

Be quiet you stupid young species! (or else be gone)

  • “Is ET avoiding us out of a fear of human galactic conquest?” (io9; 2011.04.10) – http://io9.com/#!5790567/is-et-avoiding-us-out-of-a-fear-of-human-galactic-conquest
  • “Is ET Scared of Human Conquest?” (13point7 blog) – http://thirteenpointseven.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/is-et-scared-of-human-conquest/
  • “Interstellar Predation Could Explain Fermi Paradox” (The Physics arXiv blog; 2011.04.08) – http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/26622/
      In a casual chat over lunch back in 1950, the Italian-American physicist Enrico Fermi posed a now famous question. If intelligent life has evolved many times in our galaxy and beyond, why do we see no sign of it?

      Kent puts it like this: “If cosmic habitats are widely enough separated that they are very hard to find, by far the best strategy for a typical species to avoid defeat in such competitions may be to avoid entering them, by being inconspicuous enough that no potential adversary identifies its habitat as valuable.”

      That raises important questions about whether humanity is wise to advertise its existence. Various attempts to send messages to the stars have already been made and many scientists have pointed out that this could be a serious mistake, even a suicidal one.

  • “Too Damned Quiet?” by Adrian Kent (arXiv.org > physics > arXiv:1104.0624; 2011.04.04) – http://arxiv.org/abs/1104.0624
      Abstract: It is often suggested that extraterrestial life sufficiently advanced to be capable of interstellar travel or communication must be rare, since otherwise we would have seen evidence of it by now. This in turn is sometimes taken as indirect evidence for the improbability of life evolving at all in our universe. A couple of other possibilities seem worth considering. One is that life capable of evidencing itself on interstellar scales has evolved in many places but that evolutionary selection, acting on a cosmic scale, tends to extinguish species which conspicuously advertise themselves and their habitats. The other is that — whatever the true situation — intelligent species might reasonably worry about the possible dangers of self-advertisement and hence incline towards discretion. These possibilities are discussed here, and some counter-arguments and complicating factors are also considered.

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