Nice work baric! And good calls too.
Nice work baric! And good calls too.
The Fermi Paradox is more of a question than a solution.
The scientific research over my life-time, namely, the exoplanets, is changing my view-points of other solar-systems. Once, I was certain of alien-life and many Earth-like worlds; now, I'm not so sure and leaning towards the "Rare-Earth" hypothesis.
What really puzzles me is how life was on Earth so fast. That means life is really common and a natural part of planetary evolution, or life on Earth didn't not originate on it and was brought from somewhere else.
This causes obvious conflict with Copernican Principle.
I imagine over many thousands of years there is a lot of technology that comes and goes. Why single out what we currently have as being the one that they'd obviously shower us in? Is ours so great or efficient?
It's just not a paradox. It's a musing that doesn't necessarily apply to much at all.
Also, if am advanced species has already determined that there are other life forms out there, would that necessarily mean that they'll be forever desperate to find more of them? Maybe the discovery that they're not alone quenched their thirst. If I want a coffee and I find a coffee shop, my desire to keep hunting for more of them wanes. I've probably htne got better things to do. Are we that amazing that they simply must find _us_ above all else? I doubt it.
If you are talking about atmospheric markers on Earth-sized planets, we can't detect that yet.
If you are taking about stray EM broadcasts, we can't detect that yet.
If you are talking about transmissions specifically targeted towards us, we can technically detect that if we know where to look.
If you are talking about hypothetical futuristic sci-fi concepts like star-lifting or Dyson spheres, then I would argue that we are out of the realm of "reasonable".
At home I have coffee and drink it regularly. I enjoy it and consider it an interesting beverage. I hear on the radio that there are places out in the city which sell coffee of many exotic varieties. After some time searching I stumble across one of these fabled coffee shops. I sample what they have to offer and add to my knowledge of coffee.
Do I now go back home never to look for new coffees again? I think I am more inclined to go and look for other exciting new coffees in the world.
Maybe, maybe not. Depends on your assumptions.
Why are/were they looking?
Thing is, I don't need to prove that the certainly don't want to look any further than the few others they may have found. All I have to show is that there are reasons why they may choose not to bother scouring the universe for every slice of life they can find, and the paradox is no more.
No; you have to show that all forms of intelligent life (from sentient AI to humanoids to hive-mind slime molds and everything in-between) choose not to bother scouring the universe for life. Therein lies the paradox.
There is no reason to expect every form of intelligent life to behave in the same way; some might be expansive, others not. But it only takes one successfully expansive species to fill the Galaxy.
No I don't. What? Of all of them, even if one is looking they must have sent feelers out to every location? Is this a big or small universe?
Usually it is sufficient to consider each galaxy separately. Intergalactic travel, though not impossible, is likely to be insignificant compared to interstellar travel within a galaxy.
Frank Tipler realised that self-replicating probes sent out by a single civilisation could reach every star in a galaxy within a few million years, an short period compared to the history of the Universe. Some discussion of this effect here
note that a self-replicating civilisation could also fill a galaxy in a timescale which should be broadly comparable.
But here they are - not.
And I will not even metion that they are not here...
And who's to say that intelligent life necessarily focuses outward anyway? Perhaps they are content to focus much more than we are on their own planet, and doing a better job there? Not to denigrate our investigations outward, but it's not necessarily the only choice for advancement.
That may be the most likely answer, to be honest. Intelligent may be rare, but not vanishingly so; it may just be so rare that the closest expansive civilisation is too far away to have got here yet.To my mind, that just indicates that the odds of life development in the way that we are predicting are lower than we might be assuming.
If only one in 500 civilisations is expansive, then we could easily be surrounded by hundreds of civilisations, none of which are interested in expanding. Simply creating a paradise within a single solar system is probably enough for most species.
Alternately, an interstellar species might simply move to the nearest suitable star, and stay there. Our Sun will go red giant in a few billion years; moving to a neaby red dwarf could ensure a stable environment for a trillion years.
Of course it could be that if expansive species are rare there may be only one at this moment in galactic history, and we're it.
If you take the number of extrasolar planets found to date... then the stars that have been monitored... then do the math for the rest of just the milky way... that's easily 500k planets out there... and I suspect that number is far far higher in actuality, to tell me we are the only trace of life in the galaxy, let alone the universe... might I suggest a padded cell to those that think we are it?
There are likely to be several hundred billion planets in our galaxy. It seems very likely that life has emerged on at least some of those. But if we stay in our home solar system, we will never be able to examine that life at close quarters.
Unless, of course, that life comes to us in one way or another; there is currently no sign of that happening.
I just can't wait until Kepler dishes it its first habitable zone occupying earth sized planet with a period of about one year. I'll be throwing a party on that day.
500 planets is nothing we haven't even scratched the surface.
Why not a billion advanced civilizations in our galaxy. 1000 of them are within 100 light years of Earth 10 are serious about exploring up to 100 light years from their home world. Two of them have outposts on Earth, but both perceive it is imprudent to tell most humans about their origin. Since they are more advanced than humans they can easily keep us from being sure, they are living among us = we suspect, but the hard evidence is easily debunked? Neil
Neil what are you getting at here? Are you seriously suggesting this might be the case or are you being funny?
Masquerade going on.
There's an alien Howard Smith standing on a far distant planet, who may even be, at this time, looking up at the stars towards our direction and saying that they are alone in the universe. They don't believe in us either.
STARGAZING: All I see are the lights of a billion places I'll never go. --Howard Tayler, Schlock Mercenary