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Fermi Paradox & the Human/E.T. Condition

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posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 11:12 AM
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The Fermi paradox (or Fermi's paradox) is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations, such as in the Drake equation, and the lack of evidence for such civilizations. The basic points of the argument, made by physicists Enrico Fermi and Michael H. Hart, are:

-The Sun is a typical star, and there are billions of stars in the galaxy that are billions of years older.
-With high probability, some of these stars will have Earth-like planets, and if the earth is typical, some might develop intelligent life.
-Some of these civilizations might develop interstellar travel, a step the Earth is investigating now.
-Even at the slow pace of currently envisioned interstellar travel, the Milky Way galaxy could be completely traversed in about a million years.

According to this line of thinking, the Earth should already have been visited by extraterrestrial aliens though Fermi saw no convincing evidence of this, nor any signs of alien intelligence anywhere in the observable universe, leading him to ask, "Where is everybody?"


Counterarguments suggest that intelligent extraterrestrial life does not exist or occurs so rarely or briefly that humans will never make contact with it. The Fermi paradox is a conflict between arguments of scale and probability that seem to favor intelligent life being common in the universe, and a total lack of evidence of intelligent life having ever arisen anywhere other than on the Earth.

Efforts to find signs of extraterrestrial intelligence have been made since 1960, and several are ongoing. One challenge is the need to avoid an anthropocentric viewpoint. This is significant, and what I want to discuss in this thread.

Some reasons afforded for the lack of evidence of extraterrestrial life, or Earth visitation, includes some of the following arguments:
-There are no other civilizations 'out there'
-There was other intelligent life and it destroyed itself
-Like humans, some intelligent life destroyed other intelligent life
-Life was 'wiped clean' by some extinction event
-Civilizations might be too far apart in space & time
-We don't have the capability to 'hear' intelligent messages sent through time and space

All of these reasons are pretty sound, scientific, and reasonable. But the challenge listed above was to avoid taking an anthropocentric or humanistic viewpoint and/or approach to the question, but, and it's a BIG but(t), what if there is a less scientific, more subjective, psychological reason for an other intelligent civilization not making contact with us?

Within the human condition are hundreds of psychological traits that make us who we are. Some are strengths, while others are considered flaws. So I pose to you, what might be some of the psychological reasons a species might chose to remain silent, instead of broadcasting it's existence to another intelligent civilization? A paradox exists in the challenge of Not thinking anthropocentrically, while, indeed, we know of no other way to think. What are some non-ethnocentric ways of thinking about the Fermi Paradox?

In a related manner, I posed the thought to an ATS thread that what if, when thinking about space travel, hyper-sleep, time, and great distances, what if an alien species had considerably Longer life-spans than humans. How would that play into space-faring capabilities? What would be the impact of substantially longer lives in regards to space travel? This was not something I had not previously considered when thinking about time and distance. Consider a species that can exist for thousands of years, suddenly those great distances and the time required to travel them seem smaller.

What if a species existed exclusively etherally, having no physical force or body to impact it's surrounding environment? I'm not sure how reproduction might be affected. But again, I'm applying my interpretation and experience with reproduction to the question. What if the thought of leaving their home world never occurred to them? Maybe they are only able to influence certain spectrums, not possessing the ability to communicate or affect infrared, electromagnetic, radio, microwave, ultraviolet, etc. What if the physics they are accustomed to vary to significantly from the laws of physics we currently understand?

They are too alien

Another possibility is that human theoreticians have underestimated how much alien life might differ from that on Earth. Aliens may be psychologically unwilling to attempt to communicate with human beings. Perhaps human mathematics is parochial to Earth and not shared by other life, though others argue this can only apply to abstract math since the math associated with physics must be similar (in results, if not in methods.)

Physiology might also cause a communication barrier. Carl Sagan speculated that an alien species might have a thought process orders of magnitude slower (or faster) than humans. Such a species could conceivably speak so slowly that it requires years to say even a simple phrase like "Hello". A message broadcast by that species might well seem like random background noise to humans, and therefore go undetected.
Fermi Paradox

Perhaps The zoo hypothesis states that intelligent extraterrestrial life exists and does not contact life on Earth to allow for its natural evolution and development. Others reasons exist that other civilizations might want to 'isolate' Earth, as we have demonstrated to be a violent and dangerous species at times.

Perhaps other civilizations feel it's dangerous to communicate with other intelligent civilizations. Afraid of potential consequences.

Could there be some existential reason extraterrestrials would chose to not reveal themselves to other civilizations?




posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 11:21 AM
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a reply to: Cosmic911

The one thing i have never understood about the so called Fermi's paradox is that the drake equation doesnt give high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations in the first place. Mainly because we don't have answers to half the variables.



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 11:24 AM
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originally posted by: MrMasterMinder
a reply to: Cosmic911

The one thing i have never understood about the so called Fermi's paradox is that the drake equation doesnt give high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations in the first place. Mainly because we don't have answers to half the variables.

While I have never looked at the variables myself, some feel the drake equation presents high estimates of the probability of extraterrestrial life, while some report the equation presents low estimates. I guess it's more of a subjective concept than it appears???



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 11:25 AM
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So all the hundreds of thousands- millions of witnesses of other worldly vehicles including many trained observers are just hallucinating Or mistaken?

They ARE visiting us. Just because you haven't seen one personally doesn't mean they aren't visiting us. Have you ever seen a blue whale in person?



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 11:30 AM
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originally posted by: Alien Abduct
So all the hundreds of thousands- millions of witnesses of other worldly vehicles including many trained observers are just hallucinating Or mistaken?

They ARE visiting us. Just because you haven't seen one personally doesn't mean they aren't visiting us. Have you ever seen a blue whale in person?


The blue whale analogy really doesn't hold up. I can decide today to go visit an aquarium. I can go on a whale watching vacation. I'm not saying in this thread Yes or No in regards to visitation, however, much of what you provide as examples are subjective, not objective or reproduceable. Prove to me right now that those vehicles are other worldly...
edit on 16-11-2015 by Cosmic911 because: edited for content



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 11:41 AM
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a reply to: Cosmic911

Prove they aren't extraterrestrial craft.

I agree with mistermasterminder the drake equation doesn't give a high estimate of the probability of extraterrestrials.



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 11:42 AM
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a reply to: Cosmic911



Perhaps The zoo hypothesis states that intelligent extraterrestrial life exists and does not contact life on Earth to allow for its natural evolution and development. Others reasons exist that other civilizations might want to 'isolate' Earth, as we have demonstrated to be a violent and dangerous species at times.


Both of these are reasonable assumptions.

Obviously I'm aware of the thousands of UFO reports throughout history, some truly extraordinary and amazing reports which defy rational explanation and yet we still have no definitive evidence which connects these to the existence of aliens.

A lot of ufologists point to the UFO waves of the 40's & 50's (shortly after the first use of nuclear weapons) that suggest visitations. Personally, I feel that there is something to this, when you include the reports of UFO's and nuclear bases around the world, however what if these reports were actually of a branch of the human race that broke off from the rest of us? This planet is a big place with many places to hide and given the fact our understanding of human history is sketchy to say the least, this is just as plausible as visitations by aliens (which some UFO reports may even be also).

Pure hypothesis but it may explain the waves, it may also point to that when we first used nuclear weapons, this other group of people decided to leave the planet, a lot of these reports described beings aboard some of these craft as being humanoid.

Total speculation but it does make the whole topic very interesting



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 11:42 AM
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a reply to: Cosmic911

R* = the average rate of star formation in our galaxy
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
fl = the fraction of planets that could support life that actually develop life at some point
fi = the fraction of planets with life that actually go on to develop intelligent life (civilizations)
fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L = the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space

As you can see we dont have any answers for the variables. People can make a guess but its not bases on any solid data.



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 11:44 AM
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a reply to: Cosmic911

I believe we are visited and there are loads of evidence, wittnesses such as Eisenhower and Reagan, the COMETA reports, foo fighters, the Minuteman incident, etc...

I believe they are so far ahead of us they can literally slip in and out your very head, without you noticing. SETI is a nice attempt and i would wish they would find sthg, but it is like looking for a blue, 2cm needle in a stack of all colours and lengths.



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 11:44 AM
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originally posted by: Alien Abduct
a reply to: Cosmic911

Prove they aren't extraterrestrial craft.

I agree with mistermasterminder the drake equation doesn't give a high estimate of the probability of extraterrestrials.


Yeah, 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.' I get it. But the burden of proof rests with the person proclaiming a sighting is otherworldly if they want to be taken serious, and not considered a fake or mentally ill. Bob Lazar said much, proved nothing. How's his reputation holding up?



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 11:47 AM
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originally posted by: MrMasterMinder
a reply to: Cosmic911

R* = the average rate of star formation in our galaxy
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
fl = the fraction of planets that could support life that actually develop life at some point
fi = the fraction of planets with life that actually go on to develop intelligent life (civilizations)
fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L = the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space

As you can see we dont have any answers for the variables. People can make a guess but its not bases on any solid data.

Thank you providing this post!!



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 11:53 AM
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a reply to: Alien Abduct

That isn't what he's saying.

The OP is asking for suggestions why a prospective ETI would choose to stay silent?

For example, Hawkings said there could be hostile forces out there so being silent would be precautionary.



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 12:14 PM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

Right! Thanks for bringing us 'back on track.'



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 12:20 PM
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I like the exploratory thinking suggested by the OP.

The fact we've discovered species on our own planet that, until the moment they were discovered, were biologically "impossible" should be a clue to us that we have yet to imagine the different environments life could survive in much less the seemingly infinite variations of the forms life could take.

Considering that everything on Earth, all the people, animals, plants, buildings, machines, etc... have been made of only the elements we've discovered and to a great extent been able to manipulate, the possibilities are huge.

ETA:

The variations of "psychological" motivations would have to be as "huge" as the potential variations of the physical and environmental. I've always believed the old saying "we don't know what we don't know" is one of the most intelligent starting points for trying to get a handle on the ETH.


edit on 11-16-2015 by Springer because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 12:31 PM
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originally posted by: Springer
I like the exploratory thinking suggested by the OP.

The fact we've discovered species on our own planet that, until the moment they were discovered, were biologically "impossible" should be a clue to us that we have yet to imagine the different environments life could survive in much less the seemingly infinite variations of the forms life could take.

Considering that everything on Earth, all the people, animals, plants, buildings, machines, etc... have been made of only the elements we've discovered and to a great extent been able to manipulate, the possibilities are huge.

ETA:

The variations of "psychological" motivations would have to be as "huge" as the potential variations of the physical and environmental. I've always believed the old saying "we don't know what we don't know" is one of the most intelligent starting points for trying to get a handle on the ETH.



I really like getting 'out of our heads' to consider the infinite possibilities that exist when it comes to ETI. Yes, the variations in psychological motivations is immense. And having worked in the Emergency Department for most of my adult career, I, too, believe in the saying, 'we don't know what we don't know.' It can be applied universally to so many things! Thanks for chiming in!



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 12:38 PM
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originally posted by: Alien Abduct
So all the hundreds of thousands- millions of witnesses of other worldly vehicles including many trained observers are just hallucinating Or mistaken?

People -- including "trained observers" -- have also seen ghosts since the beginning of recorded history, and likely before. Are they actual residual components of the spirits of deceased people?

Just because evidence exists of something doesn't mean you can instantly tack an explanation onto it, particularly if the "explanation" has never been proven to exist in the first place. The fact is, we as humans have inherently limited intelligence and perceptual abilities. "Aliens" and "ghosts" are just words we use as placeholders for things we don't (and possibly are fundamentally unable to) understand.



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 12:46 PM
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a reply to: Cosmic911


I've often thought about this.

Here's something I posted in another thread on the subject:


originally posted by: draknoir2
Would we even recognize an advanced alien civilization?

We have a narcissistic tendency to anthropomorphize our interpretation of advanced ET species. But what happens when a single characteristic is changed... say curiosity, for example? What if "they" are uninterested in the "outside world"? Does this render them unworthy of the label "advanced"? Wouldn't it make contact unlikely?

Consider a highly intelligent, deep-thinking species so perfectly adapted to their environment with a highly complex and direct ability to communicate with each other such that technology is unnecessary to them. Perhaps a society of cetacean-like creatures living in an ocean environment beneath the crust of an ice planet orbiting a gas giant. Maybe they have everything, from art, mathematics, language, to traditional literature and music... all without technology. The only thing they do not have is an interest in what's beyond the ice. We would likely see them as animals, just as we do terrestrial whales.



And given the vast range of possibilities such a hypothetical alien species would be practically humanoid. More than likely what is out there would be both physically and intellectually unrecognizable to us.
edit on 16-11-2015 by draknoir2 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 12:51 PM
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a reply to: draknoir2

That's exactly what I'm getting at; the whole point of the thread. Thanks for substantially adding to the thread's intention. These are the questions I'm asking.



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 12:56 PM
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The zoo analogy is probably closest to the truth. Heck Humans even try to do this with native tribes in the amazon and the andaman islands. Instead of trying to bring these people up to speed we watch and study them like a zoo. If we could probe them for dna at night by taking them into our ship without being caught we would probably do that instead of meeting them and getting samples for the sake of "preserving their way of life".

Some more compassionate aliens have likely brought a few humans up to speed but the intellectual class of other alien species prolly prefers the zoo and abduction model to "preserve our way of life"

It'd likely be quite a jump and psychologically destructive for many humans to be exposed quickly to advanced tech. I'd imagine trying to explain the internet to a native of the andaman islands to be quite a daunting task.



posted on Nov, 16 2015 @ 01:00 PM
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It seems impossible to speculate how a significantly more advanced civilization might think. It's the Singularity theory, externalized, in that they're probably a good deal brighter than us, plus the additional complications of a truly alien civilization that may have few points of similarity to our own.

Unfortunately, I think the only way to try and understand "them" (assuming that "they" are who we assume them to be and we're not totally off-track with every one of our assumptions, say, if we were actually existing inside a simulated reality construct) is to analyze first person accounts and try to make sense of them. Others have tried and even after filtering out as many hoaxes and cases of delusion, could only come up with vague, albeit ominous scenarios explaining what is being reported (see Jacques Vallee, an extremely qualified researcher on the subject.)

But even he began to see that the rabbit hole went far deeper than it had any reasonable right to if we were strictly dealing with human-like alien intelligences visiting Earth, say, in the same way that human anthropologists would visit isolated tribes in the Amazon. I think his revelations are unfortunately too much for most interested parties who are simply assuming a Star Trek-like galactic reality and so are discarded, eye witness reports be damned.



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