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(Astrobiology) The 'Rare Earth' Delusion

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posted on Mar, 5 2009 @ 08:21 AM

In my experience, the most common solution given to the Fermi Paradox is the Rare Earth hypothesis -- the idea that life in the Galaxy is exceptionally rare and that planets like ours are freakishly uncommon. For many, this conveniently explains why we haven't been visited by little green men. Or more accurately, extraterrestrial machine intelligences.

I've always thought, however, that given cosmologically large numbers that this sort of thinking is symptomatic of our small minds and limited imaginations. It's easy for us to throw up our hands and sheepishly declare that we're somehow special. Such a conclusion, however, needs to be qualified against the data involved, and by the mounting evidence in support of the notion that ours appears to be a life-friendly universe.

While I think that Dvorsky makes some arguments that are a matter of prospective and makes authoritive statements that no one one Earth has any way of knowing yet, he does make a strong case for a Biophilac galaxy.

And for the record, I subscribe the Great Filter hypothesis as an answer to the Fermi Paradox.

posted on Mar, 5 2009 @ 09:01 AM
I think that author uses numbers much too frivolously. One Earth for a million star systems or one in a billion IS a major difference that indeed can give partial answer for this paradox ,and simple "come on,one in a billion?" cannot out-rule it.
However statistics for Earth-like planets are really useless, all this rare occurrence type of answer cannot work anyway since life can be totally different then our carbon-based design. By the way, my own take on great silence is simply that we look for something we would recognize. Life ,even intelligent, cannot aspire for same technological or cultural things. Conditions are so diverse that life forms could be similarly diverse and only few crazy ones could be locked on wild expansion and consumption. So searching for second us we can simply overlook all of them.
In my opinion, of course.
By the way - i agree that filter approach is also very appealing. However since real turning points and conditions to "pass a level" are not known it is also a rather useless approach.

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