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Fermi paradox- What's your opinion?

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posted on May, 31 2006 @ 12:36 AM
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Having recently spent more time talking to people and researching the topic of extraterrestrial life, I came across a theory which has got me thinking.

This theory has cast a shadow of doubt upon my previous unshakable belief that through the sheer weight of numbers, there has to be a multitude of life in our universe.

For those unfamiliar with the Fermi Paradox, here is an brief extract..


The age of the universe and its vast number of stars seem to suggest that extraterrestrial life should be common. Considering this with colleagues over lunch in 1950, the physicist Enrico Fermi is said to have asked: "Where are they?"[1] If there are a multitude of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy then why have we not seen any evidence, such as probes, spacecraft or radio transmissions? The simple question "Where are they?" (alternatively, "Where is everybody?") is possibly apocryphal but Fermi is widely credited with simplifying and clarifying the problem of the probability of extraterrestrial life.


For me, this theory has presented some interesting questions. Humans could theoretically colonize the galaxy in a million years or so, and if they could, astronauts from older civilizations could do the same. So why havn't they come to earth? If they have come to earth, whay do they insist upon being so jumpy, and abducting people in the middle of the night?

It seems there are some interesting proposed answers to this question..

The zoo hypothesis, which basicly suggests that they are observing us without interfering.

Or the ancient astronauts idea, where the built the pyramids and then for some reason dissapeared.

Or is it just too time consuming and expensive to travel trillions of miles to get here?

For me these theories struggle to answer the question, Where is everybody?

In the interests of conversation and nutting it out...What's your opinion?




posted on May, 31 2006 @ 01:01 AM
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My opinion is that Fermi didn't really have a grasp on the UFO situation at hand to begin with , so there isn't really a Paradox if you consider that the UFO phenomena had only been existent in the Public's view for less than three years and the phenomena has seriously persisted for the last 63 years since Fermi asked " Where are they?".

As a matter of fact Fermi would have been asking that question right at the height of the New Mexico "Green Fireball " wave , at the same time Dr. La Paz and the Air Force were concluding the the "Green Fireballs" represented artificial "Probes". And of course "Operation Charlie" by the Air Ministry ( Britain ) , in January 1947 , who were investigating a recurring "Unknown target" "X-362" off the Coast and recurring from the North Sea.



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 01:11 AM
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I am of the opinion that our planet has been visited by extraterrestrials before... I think it's also possible that they've been here, on Earth, all along and may have even played a part in the development of the human-being.

But for sake of argument, let's set aside all that. If you start with the premise that since there are so many galaxies, planets, stars etc out there, there HAS to be life, right? Well, one way to flip that would be to say that while there may be life out there, there are so many galaxies, planets, and stars that the odds are we won't come in contact with any of those species.



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 06:43 AM
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Originally posted by kojac

Or is it just too time consuming and expensive to travel trillions of miles to get here?



Hmmm makes me think of what might be said at the used space ship sales lot.

just could not resist the temtation


but on the serious note I think if we are being visited it will be both exsplorers and the zoo hypothesis

edited for typos

[edit on 31-5-2006 by RedGolem]



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 07:02 AM
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Fermi was a groundbreaker in modern physics by (with Szilard) conducting the first successful experiments in nuclear fission at the Univ. of Chicago in the late 1930s. However, by referring to his statement around the time of the first UFO publicity as authoritative, we aren't being too penetrative. He wasn't necessarily any kind of expert on the UFO phenomenon, especially when extrapolating such a statement to the present day.



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 12:26 PM
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I asume there are advanced civilizations based on the numerous sightings that have ocurred. Perhaps they are trying to learn about us before introducing themselves to the entire population? If they are so advanced they no longer fight wars and defend themselves with doomsday weapons, perhaps they fear our ability to destroy the entire planet? I think it similar to how we would interact with primitive man. They certainly may be monitoring our reaction to the sightings and other phenomenom they display.


[edit on 31-5-2006 by Eyesofbear]



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 12:54 PM
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If they are so advanced they no longer fight wars and defend themselves with doomsday weapons, perhaps they fear our ability to destroy the entire planet?


Why not? Why would large galactic empires, if they exist, be peaceful and benevolent?


If they are so advanced they no longer fight wars and defend themselves with doomsday weapons, perhaps they fear our ability to destroy the entire planet?


Why would they care about us and what we do to our solar system as long as they don't have interests in our planet?

[edit on 31-5-2006 by DarkSide]



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 12:59 PM
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Darkside,

You're looking at it from a human perspective. Perhaps they have a totally different way of thinking and acting and have a significantly different set of beliefs, norms and values than we do.



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 01:23 PM
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Well I don't know if humans could theoretically colonize the galaxy in a million years using sub-light tech. It would be closer to 50 million years IMO taking into account time to build massive colony ships get to nearby star system then take time to build up infrastructure, population etc.. to move on to the next star.

We could likely explore most of the Milky Way in a few million years though using sub-light tech. Even 50 million years isn't that long from a cosmic standpoint and chance are at least one race could have done that in the billions of years the Milky Way has been around. This of course isn't factoring in any faster then light travel that humans can already dream up ways in theory at least that could be done. If some of these methods are possible warp drive etc.. these exploration times could be a fraction of the time stated.

So that brings us to the Fermi Paradox
where are they?

There's a few possibilities

- We are the first technological species - Somebody has to be the first race to develop technology we could be it. Personally given the age of the universe I think its unlikely humans seem to be late to the game.

- Zoo hypothesis - or as I like to think of it the Prime directive
It would make sense for advanced species to not directly get involved with developing species IMO. Lets face it humans aren't ready for super advanced technology. Just because we have the knowledge to say use Anti-matter as a power source doesn't mean we have the wisdom to use it right. I would bet my bottom dollars if aliens gave us that perfect energy storage tech we would use it to make bombs and weapons.

Also the lesser species would likely become a technology leech on the advanced species and would add nothing to cosmic knowledge. They would be relegated to kid role asking daddy and mommy for help all the time.

- Aliens don't explore- Human sense of exploration may be very unique most alien life in the Universe may never have the need or urge to spread out very far from their core system. They could also be xenophobes and fear alien contact.

-They are here- they may simply be here but our tech is far to feeble to communicate or detect them even when they are close to our system. Or they are here UFOs etc.. but the majority of people don't want to accept it.

[edit on 31-5-2006 by ShadowXIX]



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 01:37 PM
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Originally posted by ShadowXIX
......
- Aliens don't explore- Human sense of exploration may be very unique most alien life in the Universe may never have the need or urge to spread out very far from their core system. They could also be xenophobes and fear alien contact.

-They are here- they may simply be here but our tech is far to feeble to communicate or detect them even when they are close to our system. Or they are here UFOs etc.. but the majority of people don't want to accept it.

[edit on 31-5-2006 by ShadowXIX]


I was going to say something a long these lines as well. This assumes that A.) They use Radio waves or something that we have the ability to intercept and, if we did, would know that's what they were and B.) They would use "satelites" in conventinal terms, or depending on how advanced they may be, would even need, or have any interest in using them any longer.

It seems we always make comparisons with our own technology, (not that we have anything else to compare with...) so if we use satelites and conventional radio waves, they must as well... Having said this, I'm somewhat neutral on the subject, I look at both sides with equal scrutiny, but believe nearly anything is possible.

By the way, I love the site!



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 01:58 PM
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I think Fermi got it right. Where is everybody? If nothing else, he gave us a thoughtful and concise problem to search out answers to.

It is logical to search for the answers, but how anyone can jump to the conclusion that a ball of light in the sky = advanced civilizations? Unidentified? Yes. Not understood? True. Proof of advanced alien life from another planet? No.

I ask you, how can it be that we have regular visits, yet not one shred of hard, clear, verifiable evidence thruout our entire history? Extremely improbable. Fermi was right IMO.


Eyesofbear
I asume there are advanced civilizations based on the numerous sightings that have ocurred


Here lies a problem. Assumptions based on sightings of what? People seeing lights in the sky only prove that people saw lights in the sky. These should be classified as unknowns until valid evidence otherwise is provided.

Much like the question of how the spark of life happens when a sperm joins an egg. Surely one does not also postulate that aliens from advanced civilizations make a woman pregnant with a new life, simply because it is not understood?

Not trying to pick on anyone, I simply wanted to take a moment to point out that it really isn't logical to make assumptions that lights in the sky = aliens.

Fermi provided us a question based on valid, verifiable mathmatical models. I dont see anyone that has been able to answer the question to the satisfaction of the worlds scientific community.

Where are they?



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 02:00 PM
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Absense of Evidence != Evidence of Absense.



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 02:10 PM
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Originally posted by Ecidemon


I was going to say something a long these lines as well. This assumes that A.) They use Radio waves or something that we have the ability to intercept and, if we did, would know that's what they were and B.) They would use "satelites" in conventinal terms, or depending on how advanced they may be, would even need, or have any interest in using them any longer.

It seems we always make comparisons with our own technology, (not that we have anything else to compare with...) so if we use satelites and conventional radio waves, they must as well... Having said this, I'm somewhat neutral on the subject, I look at both sides with equal scrutiny, but believe nearly anything is possible.

By the way, I love the site!


Very true and really when you think about it there arent even that many people looking. We have what one Private Org. SETI really looking and there could be some major flaws in the way they are looking.

Even if aliens were using radio signals but compressed radio signals SETI would miss it. IMO a advanced civilization would likely encode and compress their communications to make their systems more efficient. That would however make make those signals indistinguishable from the background noise of the Universe to SETI

If they were using interstellar laser beams we would likely miss that too. Chances are theres even more exotic forms of communication we dont even know about.

SETI is really been based on assumptions on communications frequencies and technologies that may be irrelevant to alien societies. But I have the greatest respect for the SETI people atleast they are trying something.



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 02:45 PM
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Originally posted by ShadowXIX
....Chances are theres even more exotic forms of communication we dont even know about.

SETI is really been based on assumptions on communications frequencies and technologies that may be irrelevant to alien societies. But I have the greatest respect for the SETI people atleast they are trying something.


I agree completely. It is my opinion that we assume we know a whole lot more than we really do. Then again, there could be nothing more than what we know, but that's just as likely as an alien spacecraft landing on the Whitehouse lawn to have a cup of tea.

I used to run SETI @ Home all the time; If nothing it was entertaining to watch the bars go across.


The whole idea of "If there isn't an object you can hold in your hand, they don't exist" makes little sense to me. What are people expecting these supposed Aliens to leave behind? A Candy wrapper? Some peice of highly advance technology that they conveniently left behind? There are a lot of "unexplained" things that happen, which leads me to say, even if the evidence was sitting on your desk infront of you, would you know what it was?

It makes just as much sense to me as to think about it like a murder case where the murderer does not leave behind any evidence. We only know there was a murder because of the dead body, and someone seen a man leave a house. In the case of Aliens, we don't have undeniable proof like a dead body, but we have people who claim to have seen their ships, and others who claim to have been abducted. If it's possible for humans to leave behind no trace of their actions, why wouldn't an advanced alien species be able to as well? (Not the best analogy, but it's what popped into my head)

If you apply what's currently accepted by science, we cannot ommit incidences such as Lucy, or even Pluto. Technology facilitated in the discovery of a lot of the things we once thought to be true, and any other idea was ludicris. Perhaps one day we may develop something that leads us to the discovery of alien races somewhere in the universe (not just our own galaxy).

They speculate that our known universe is 15 billion years old, and even more speculation as to what is beyond what we can see or detect. That is a whole lot of time, in a whole lot of places, for a whole lot of things to happen.

Just my .05 worth.



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 02:46 PM
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Yes! Exactly. Fermi is partially applying an anthropomorphic assumption.

One could argue that Fermi's paradox relates to 'little green men' with human-like activities and motives better than it would to the concept of 'extraterrestrial "life"' .

Lets create our own example of Fermi's Paradox in an anthropological setting.

Imagine you live on a remote, tropical, Pacific Island with your tribe.

One day, a raft of wood crashes on your island with a strange white bear upon it. YOu have never seen a bear before, and this thing is strange. You run up to your village, but when you bring back the elders, the bear is gone. All that you see is a wooden raft and some blood with some sharks swimming around. Your elders tell you that the bear cannot exist because if there were such creatures, and creatures are plentiful, you would see bears from time to time.

The fallacy in the argument of your leaders is that Polar Bears traverse tropical islands.

We do not know anything about intelligence, or life, other than our own. But through experience and travel we have learned that life exists in many forms that would never come to us. We must travel to the arctic to find it. It has no desire to travel and find us.

Ecologically, we may simply be in a position of no interest in the greater equation. If all solar systems are like remote islands, then why should we see an advanced species. Even if there are millions of such species, there would be billions of solar systems, with many hundreds of thousands inhabitable by any one. Why come to this island? Why travel? Why think in terms of space and distance so as to think about mobving through space? These are all assumptions we make.



[edit on 31-5-2006 by Ectoterrestrial]



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 02:53 PM
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One Seti official described Fermi's Paradox as like setting a plate out for dinner, sitting down with a knife and fork, and waiting for a lobster to leave the sea, come to your town, crawl into your house, and then sit on your plate.

Before we answer Fermi's Paradox, we must know the answer to this:

How much like us and how much unlike us is most intellgent life in the Universe?

Without knowledge of this latter question, Fermi's Paradox is more akin to Fermi's Assumption of Domestic Extraterrestrial Policy.



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 03:14 PM
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Originally posted by TheBandit795
Darkside,

You're looking at it from a human perspective. Perhaps they have a totally different way of thinking and acting and have a significantly different set of beliefs, norms and values than we do.


Perhaps they do, perhaps not. Everything is possible, but there cannot be a rule saying that "if x is very advanced;then x is non-aggressive...etc'



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 03:52 PM
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I don't know that it's a paradox, per se, but the question has been answered many times.

The universe is vast, even at light year speeds (billions of light years across). 15 billion years have passed since its birth. During that fifteen billion years, trillions or quadrillions of civilizations and empires could have risen and faded, and we missed them.

Our technology might not be able to pick out their signals from the rest of the noisy universe. They may not be humanoid, or even carbon-based. By the time we understand a signal from them and beam it back, that civilization may have died.

I have no doubt that such civilizations are out there, but if they're in the Andromeda galaxy, the chances of them finding us and vice-versa is just about zero.



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 04:08 PM
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Frankly, if I was an alien, this is the last place I would land. It is polluted, overpopulated, undereducated, and the inhabitants murder animals and each other under the slimmest of pretenses.

Planet Earth would not earn a tick even as a place to stop and use the biffy.



posted on May, 31 2006 @ 05:41 PM
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WE are the aliens.

We were created from a tiny little Von Neumann machine called a bacterium, evolving into who we are today. Who knows where or when it originated at this point, but now it drifts and scoots slowly from planet to planet, sometimes on rocks chunked off planets, sometimes it evolves and gets sent on to other planets via space probes.

Wherever it goes, as long as it can find some of the basic materials to live, it takes hold, duplicates, and even works to terraform the surface to make it more habitable by evolving into plants and animals.

It took about 7 billion years to get to Earth because we're kind of on the outskirts of this galaxy. And it took that long to for the Earth to cool down and become habitable. And we're doing our job, passing the alien along to Mars and Venus and some of the moons of the larger planets, where if it lives it will evolve and keep moving.

Why does it do this? What is the ultimate goal? The ultimate goal is to bring every bit of matter in the universe into a living, conscious organism, which will then have the cognitive power to think back through time and create the first bacteria. And then the loop will start all over again.



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