New model predicts that we're probably the only advanced civilization in the observable universe

June 22, 2018 by Matt Williams, Universe Today
According to a new theory argued by Anders Sandberg, Eric Drexler and Toby Ord, the answer to the Fermi Paradox may be simple: humanity is alone in the universe. Credit: ESA/Gaia/DPAC

The Fermi Paradox remains a stumbling block when it comes to the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI). Named in honor of the famed physicist Enrico Fermi who first proposed it, this paradox addresses the apparent disparity between the expected probability that intelligent life is plentiful in the universe, and the apparent lack of evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence (ETI).

In the decades since Enrico Fermi first posed the question that encapsulates this ("Where is everybody?"), scientists have attempted to explain this disparity one way or another. But in a new study conducted by three famed scholars from the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) at Oxford University, the paradox is reevaluated in such a way that it makes it seem likely that humanity is alone in the observable universe.

The study, titled "Dissolving the Fermi Paradox", recently appeared online. The study was jointly-conducted by Anders Sandberg, a Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute and a Martin Senior Fellow at Oxford University; Eric Drexler, the famed engineer who popularized the concept of nanotechnology; and Toby Ord, the famous Australian moral philosopher at Oxford University.

For the sake of their study, the team took a fresh look at the Drake Equation, the famous equation proposed by astronomer Dr. Frank Drake in the 1960s. Based on hypothetical values for a number of factors, this equation has traditionally been used to demonstrate that – even if the amount of life developing at any given site is small – the sheer multitude of possible sites should yield a large number of potentially observable civilizations.

This equation states that the number of civilizations (N) in our galaxy that we might able to communicate can be determined by multiplying the average rate of star formation in our galaxy (R*), the fraction of those stars which have planets (fp), the number of planets that can actually support life (ne), the number of planets that will develop life (fl), the number of planets that will develop (fi), the number civilizations that would develop transmission technologies (fc), and the length of time that these civilizations would have to transmit their signals into space (L). Mathematically, this is expressed as:

N = R* x fp x ne x fl x fi x fc x L

Dr. Sandberg is no stranger to the Fermi Paradox, nor is he shy about attempting to resolve it. In a previous study, titled "That is not dead which can eternal lie: the aestivation hypothesis for resolving Fermi's paradox", Sandberg and his associates proposed that the Fermi Paradox arises from the fact that ETIs are not dead, but currently in a state of hibernation – what they called "aestivation" – and awaiting better conditions in the universe.

The Drake Equation, a mathematical formula for the probability of finding life or advanced civilizations in the universe. Credit: University of Rochester

In a study conducted back in 2013, Sandberg and Stuart Armstrong (also a research associate with the FHI and one of the co-authors on this study) extended the Fermi Paradox to look beyond our own galaxy, addressing how more advanced civilizations would feasibly be able to launch colonization projects with relative ease (and even travel between galaxies without difficulty).

As Dr. Sandberg told Universe Today via email:

"One can answer [the Fermi Paradox] by saying intelligence is very rare, but then it needs to be tremendously rare. Another possibility is that intelligence doesn't last very long, but it is enough that one civilization survives for it to become visible. Attempts at explaining it by having all intelligences acting in the same way (staying quiet, avoiding contact with us, transcending) fail since they require every individual belonging to every society in every civilization to behave in the same way, the strongest sociological claim ever. Claiming long-range settlement or communication are impossible requires assuming a surprisingly low technology ceiling. Whatever the answer is, it more or less has to be strange."

In this latest study, Sandberg, Drexler and Ord reconsider the parameters of the Drake Equation by incorporating models of chemical and genetic transitions on paths to the origin of life. From this, they show that there is a considerable amount of scientific uncertainties that span multiple orders of magnitude. Or as Dr. Sandberg explained it:

"Many parameters are very uncertain given current knowledge. While we have learned a lot more about the astrophysical ones since Drake and Sagan in the 1960s, we are still very uncertain about the probability of life and intelligence. When people discuss the equation it is not uncommon to hear them say something like: "this parameter is uncertain, but let's make a guess and remember that it is a guess", finally reaching a result that they admit is based on guesses. But this result will be stated as single number, and that anchors us to an apparently exact estimate – when it should have a proper uncertainty range. This often leads to overconfidence, and worse, the Drake equation is very sensitive to bias: if you are hopeful a small nudge upwards in several uncertain estimates will give a hopeful result, and if you are a pessimist you can easily get a low result."

As such, Sandberg, Drexler and Ord looked at the equation's parameters as uncertainty ranges. Instead of focusing on what value they might have, they looked at what the largest and smallest values they could have based on current knowledge. Whereas some values have become well constrained – such as the number of planets in our galaxy based on exoplanet studies and the number that exist within a star's habitable zone – others remain far more uncertain.

When they combined these uncertainties, rather than the guesswork that often go into the Fermi Paradox, the team got a distribution as a result. Naturally, this resulted in a broad spread due to the number of uncertainties involved. But as Dr. Sandberg explained, it did provide them with an estimate of the likelihood that humanity (given what we know) is alone in the galaxy:

"We found that even using the guesstimates in the literature (we took them and randomly combined the parameter estimates) one can have a situation where the mean number of civilizations in the galaxy might be fairly high – say a hundred – and yet the probability that we are alone in the galaxy is 30%! The reason is that there is a very skew distribution of likelihood.

"If we instead try to review the scientific knowledge, things get even more extreme. This is because the probability of getting life and intelligence on a planet has an extreme uncertainty given what we know – we cannot rule out that it happens nearly everywhere there is the right conditions, but we cannot rule out that it is astronomically rare. This leads to an even stronger uncertainty about the of civilizations, drawing us to conclude that there is a fairly high likelihood that we are alone. However, we also conclude that we shouldn't be too surprised if we find intelligence!"

In the end, the team's conclusions do not mean that humanity is alone in the universe, or that the odds of finding evidence of extra-terrestrial civilizations (both past and present) is unlikely. Instead, it simply means that we can say with greater confidence – based on what we know – that humanity is most likely the only intelligent species in the Milky Way Galaxy at present.

And of course, this all comes down to the uncertainties we currently have to contend with when it comes to SETI and the Drake Equation. In that respect, the study conducted by Sandberg, Drexler and Ord is an indication that much more needs to be learned before we can attempt to determine just how likely ETI is out there.

"What we are not showing is that SETI is pointless – quite the opposite!" said Dr. Sandberg. "There is a tremendous level of uncertainty to reduce. The paper shows that astrobiology and SETI can play a big role in reducing the uncertainty about some of the parameters. Even terrestrial biology may give us important information about the probability of life emerging and the conditions leading to intelligence. Finally, one important conclusion we find is that lack of observed intelligence does not strongly make us conclude that intelligence doesn't last long: the stars are not foretelling our doom!"

So take heart, SETI enthusiasts! While the Drake Equation may not be something we can produce accurate values for anytime soon, the more we learn, the more refined the values will be. And remember, we only need to find intelligent life once in order for the Fermi Paradox to be resolved.

Explore further: Are we alone? Setting some limits to our uniqueness

More information: Dissolving the Fermi Paradox. arxiv.org/abs/1806.02404

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JamesG
1.4 / 5 (10) Jun 22, 2018
Why are scientists obsessed with aliens?
orti
1.5 / 5 (17) Jun 22, 2018
Another bit of the atheist's faith biting the dust.
mqr
2.1 / 5 (15) Jun 22, 2018
The USA government stopped lying and few months ago it accepted that they had very clear and strong evidence of aliens visiting the planet. So much it was published in the New York Times. But there are 'skeptics' still. Which reminds me the definition of skepticism from Emil Cioran: 'skepticism is the sadism of embittered souls', fits like a glove. Skepticism is also a refuge for ignorance..... they do not want to know.
snoosebaum
2 / 5 (8) Jun 22, 2018
yes in addition to SETI you would think that investigating UFO reports and governments would be a priority. ?
Munix
1 / 5 (1) Jun 22, 2018
Aliens???

I don't want to be probed!!!
Edenlegaia
4.2 / 5 (10) Jun 22, 2018
Another bit of the atheist's faith biting the dust.


.....yeaaaah? No. Because your beliefs potentially got spared ONCE amongst the three billions times it got wrecked doesn't suddenly mean religion finally got more credibility.

The idea of us being alone, if not in the universe, at least in the galaxy, isn't that surprising anyway. Sure, the universe exists since quite a long time, but i don't remember a guide (not even the "holy one") saying "And thus, evolved, intelligent space travelling civilization shall exist....meh, 1 billion of years before one exists on Earth, maybe even more. That'll teach em humility.".
We shouldn't discard the probabilty of other civilizations hiding themselves or simply existing in another galaxy (or having existed. Time flies after all), but she should also prepare ourselves for a big nice silence.
If there's nothing, we'll just have to fill the space.
rrwillsj
2.1 / 5 (7) Jun 22, 2018
Did Meteor Watch get any photos of flying saucers? No? Damn, fifty years of watching for the implausible. And all we get is incompetently photoshopped blurred images on the boobtube!

All you 'True Believers' try this empirical experiment. Hold your hands up in front of your face. Now give yourself a hearty double-slap for being such a fantasy prat!

How many of this Earth's intelligent species are capable of doing that? No, sorry. They don't count, we ate most of them. The declining remainder are nervously hiding from our gluttony.

The Solar System has five possibilities for a Living World. Four of them failed. The Gas Giant moons are sterile. How do we know? Life shits & what has been observed is pristine clean.

Now do the math. A stable star, in the Galactic safe zone. One small planet out of five. In a stable orbit. That took billions of years to evolve microscopic life. We are Sooners. The Universe is young & has a long way to go.
b_man
2 / 5 (4) Jun 22, 2018
"We" are doing business with over 900 different civilizations:) The infinite universe is teeming with intelligent life... but we ain't one of them:)
434a
4 / 5 (8) Jun 22, 2018
Less than a century ago the Milky Way was the whole Universe.
A couple of decades ago and the solar system contained the only planets we knew of.
Next week....

If I had to assume something, I'd assume that everything we see around us is the mundane norm rather than the incredible exception. Exceptionalism is religion. It's the Sun revolving around the Earth. It's mankind at the top of a divinely blessed pyramid of life, stuffing his face with other creatures' faces.

If you were capable of inter-galactic travel, what would you do on finding Earth.
Take a look out of the window.
See these big, smelly, stupid, angry apes killing each other over utterly ridiclous differences of opinion, like "Who's god's best?"

And you would think...

"F*** that, I'll go to Andromeda for my holidays instead."

You just would, wouldn't you.
antialias_physorg
4.5 / 5 (8) Jun 22, 2018
I think there' s just a lot wrong with the idea of the Fermi paradox.

1) If you can go to space for interstellar tavel, then this implies you can live there for long-ish periods. Which says to me: why would you ever go planetside again? It's a lot harder to terraform a planet than to maintain a suitable biosphere in a fully controlled space station/ship.
2) If you're a long-lived species there's no point in keeping procereating like rabbits
3) If you're advanced to the point that you're immune to environmental effects then going planetside makes even less sense
4) if you can go near c speeds (or can circumvent c somewhow) then transmission of information by EM-radiation becomes nonsensical. Sending information pods is a lot better/more secure.
5) as for megastructures: when you can incorporate abilities into your being at will (e.g. resilience to environments) why do you need structures at all? And if you do: why would structures not be 'smart' and go away when not needed.
BobSage
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 22, 2018
The evidence for the existence of alien spacecraft is overwhelming. These ships have been observed by very credible witnesses (e.g.; airline pilots) at close range. Video and audio of one of them being pursued by air force planes was just published, but it is one of so very many.

I think an interesting question is why in the face of overwhelming evidence do people (especially scientists, I believe) deny the existence of aliens. To the point where millions and dollars are spent trying to communicate with far away civilizations.

My guess is that it will turn out that life exists in countless environments, even ones presently believed to be inhospitable. And I am sure that one day - probably within a decade - the reality of alien contact will be revealed.

Oh, and don't forget to give this comment 1 star and perhaps direct some choice personal insults at its author.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Jun 22, 2018
But if they're out there, where are they?
granville583762
3 / 5 (6) Jun 22, 2018
The reason the Fermi paradox is just that, a paradox
According to the Fermi paradox we should be colonising our galaxy, why are we not colonising our galaxy?
Look through Fermi's paradox and apply it to ourselves ask yourself why are we not doing what is in the paradox
It gives you a cringing indescribable feeling describing this strange logic
It is so obvious it's stupid; we cannot travel at the speed of light and its 36years since we set foot on the moon
I ask you, the moon is 250,000 miles, the distance is mind boggling when compared to the puny distance of the size of the Milkyway which is only a 100,000 Lys and M31 is next door at 2million Lys away
Where was Enrico Fermi living when he wrote his paradox, it certainly was not in a Monastery because some of the greatest Astrophysicists were and are monks and priests - who would have thought that deeply religious priests have a greater understanding of the universe and its inhabitants than Enrico Fermi
granville583762
3.3 / 5 (7) Jun 22, 2018
Propositional logic
Propositional calculus is a branch of logic, called propositional logic
An example of propositional logic:
Premise 1: If it's raining then it's cloudy.
Premise 2: It's raining.
Conclusion: It's cloudy
As everyone knows when it rains it is not an either or, when light blustery showers the sky can be blue with very few clouds that rain as they pass overhead and can disperse in an instant and on the other hand in East Anglia is renowned for thick black cloudy skies and not one drop of rain, East Anglia is the driest part of Great Britain
This is why Enrico Fermi Paradox is flawed because of propositional logic, because the conclusion: It's cloudy does not mean it's raining.
PTTG
3.5 / 5 (11) Jun 22, 2018
Interestingly enough, this comment thread serves as strong evidence against there being intelligent life on Earth.
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Jun 22, 2018
Propositional logic

I realize that you copied this stuff from wikipedia,
https://en.wikipe...lanation
but you obviously didn't understand what you copied. Please go back and try reading it again (and try not to copy paste stuff you don't understand in the future...it makes you seem rather dumb)
Doug_Nightmare
not rated yet Jun 22, 2018
This analysis is a proper and practical application of E.T. Jaynes' principle of maximizing the entropy (MaxEnt) of the (naive) prior probability of Bayesian inference. The maximum entropy probability is 0.5, "I don't know."

Jaynes also formalized the prohibition against ad-hockery.

Edwin T. Jaynes, Probability Theory: the logic of science; edited by G. Larry Bretthorst, 2003 Cambridge U. Press
Tuxford
2.3 / 5 (7) Jun 22, 2018
But if they're out there, where are they?

Typical reaction of an irrationally rational intellectual egomaniac. Simple.

Aliens are very very smart compared to us. And they know what happens if our society is not ready for disclosure, and so are slowly preparing the ground. Mistakes are made, and sightings occur.

But our government has been pumping the propaganda machine for decades, in order to keep us safe. If aliens are here, then they have overcome faster than light travel, and harnessed electro-gravitic technology. This all came to light in the 50's, when aerospace firms were busy investigating until it all suddenly became classified.

So rogue nations are busy pursing the very hard nuclear bomb technology, instead of the relatively easy and dangerous electro-gravitic weaponry. And so the propaganda has invaded the science institutes, where people have been convinced in fanciful math models and Banging their heads to explain merger mania. Brilliant!
rrwillsj
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 22, 2018
So, Exceptionalism and Where'n the hell are they?

Billions of lottery tickets sold and only one winner. Your on it if you hadn't noticed.

A few hundred billion years later and a few hundred sextrillion more lotto tickets sold... Then will be the SF/Fx Golden Age of numerous Living Worlds. With an spectrum of biomes.

Though I suspect, as is now on Earth. Many, maybe most naturally evolved intelligent life will not have the physical ability to use tools or fire.

Technologically advanced lifeforms will have to decide whether or not to face the Moral Quandary. Should they forcibly compel uplift of those alien species trapped in the "Whale Dream"?

Will those selected for uplift appreciate losing their innocence?

Once the uplifted control their own lives. Will they choose to reject technology? Would you permit them to reject your intervention?

"Oh Miss. Miss! For God's sake! Do not bite that apple!"
granville583762
3.4 / 5 (5) Jun 22, 2018
Being a Cambridge graduate
granville583762> Propositional logic

antialias_physorg> I realize that you copied this stuff from wikipedia,
https://en.wikipe...lanation
But you obviously didn't understand what you copied. Please go back and try reading it again (and try not to copy paste stuff you don't understand in the future...it makes you seem rather dumb)

I know it came from where you said, as just as you recognised in Fermi's paradox your style, but that is no shame dear chap, as that comes from being a Cambridge graduate.
TrollBane
5 / 5 (4) Jun 22, 2018
"These ships have been observed by very credible witnesses (e.g.; airline pilots) at close range. " You must have missed the news about some airline pilots being caught trying to board the plane intoxicated. Sure, it's not exactly common, but it does weaken the assumption of credibility a bit...
Mimath224
5 / 5 (3) Jun 22, 2018
Less than a century ago the Milky Way was the whole Universe.
A couple of decades ago and the solar system contained the only planets we knew of.
Next week....

If I had to assume something, I'd assume that everything we see around us is the mundane norm rather than the incredible exception. Exceptionalism is religion. It's the Sun revolving around the Earth. It's mankind at the top of a divinely blessed pyramid of life, stuffing his face with other creatures' faces.

If you were capable of inter-galactic travel, what would you do on finding Earth.
Take a look out of the window.
See these big, smelly, stupid, angry apes killing each other over utterly ridiclous differences of opinion, like "Who's god's best?"

And you would think...

"F*** that, I'll go to Andromeda for my holidays instead."

You just would, wouldn't you.

Very humorous. I sure do hope we aren't the only intelligent life...a bit boring to say the least Ha!
Mimath224
5 / 5 (2) Jun 22, 2018
Propositional logic
Propositional calculus is a branch of logic, called propositional logic
An example of propositional logic:
Premise 1: If it's raining then it's cloudy.
Premise 2: It's raining.
Conclusion: It's cloudy
As everyone knows when it rains it is not an either or, when light blustery showers the sky can be blue with very few clouds that rain as they pass overhead and can disperse in an instant and on the other hand in East Anglia is renowned for thick black cloudy skies and not one drop of rain, East Anglia is the driest part of Great Britain
This is why Enrico Fermi Paradox is flawed because of propositional logic, because the conclusion: It's cloudy does not mean it's raining.

Yep, P → Q, P ∴ Q Modus Ponendo Ponens.
P → Q, Q ∴ P. Fallacy of affirming the consequent
Mimath224
5 / 5 (2) Jun 22, 2018
Propositional logic
Propositional calculus is a branch of logic, called propositional logic
An example of propositional logic:
Premise 1: If it's raining then it's cloudy.
Premise 2: It's raining.
Conclusion: It's cloudy
As everyone knows when it rains it is not an either or, when light blustery showers the sky can be blue with very few clouds that rain as they pass overhead and can disperse in an instant and on the other hand in East Anglia is renowned for thick black cloudy skies and not one drop of rain, East Anglia is the driest part of Great Britain
This is why Enrico Fermi Paradox is flawed because of propositional logic, because the conclusion: It's cloudy does not mean it's raining.

Yep, P → Q, P ∴ Q Modus Ponendo Ponens.
P → Q, Q ∴ P. Fallacy of affirming the consequent

However, I do rather think we are in the realm of Predicate Calculus since the issue is more subtle than just clouds and rain.
Mimath224
5 / 5 (1) Jun 22, 2018
"These ships have been observed by very credible witnesses (e.g.; airline pilots) at close range. " You must have missed the news about some airline pilots being caught trying to board the plane intoxicated. Sure, it's not exactly common, but it does weaken the assumption of credibility a bit...

Not to mention that any object(s) seen while in flight can be distorted by glass windows.
Mimath224
5 / 5 (2) Jun 22, 2018
But if they're out there, where are they?

Aliens are very very smart compared to us. And they....
But our government has been pumping the propaganda machine for decades, in order to keep us safe. If aliens are here, then they have overcome faster than light travel...
So rogue nations are busy pursing...

Wow, some pretty bold statements there..not sure this is the right thread though. Any propaganda is meant to keep others ignorant, not safe. Any approaching catastrophe might be kept secret but that will hardly keep us safe.

Solon
2 / 5 (4) Jun 22, 2018
Former Defense Minister Admits Aliens Exist
http://forevercon...ns-exist
Mimath224
5 / 5 (2) Jun 22, 2018
Former Defense Minister Admits Aliens Exist
http://forevercon...ns-exist

Quote; 'After this sighting, his team began investigating further and found alien species living on the moons of Saturn, Mars and Venus....'
Pity they didn't provide the evidence of how they 'found' these aliens so that we could all shut up and go home, as it were.
granville583762
5 / 5 (3) Jun 23, 2018
434a> ]Less than a century ago the Milky Way was the whole Universe.
A couple of decades ago and the solar system contained the only planets we knew of.
Next week....
If I had to assume something, I'd assume that everything we see around us is the mundane norm rather than the incredible exception. Exceptionalism is religion. It's the Sun revolving around the Earth. It's mankind at the top of a divinely blessed pyramid of life, stuffing his face with other creatures' faces.
If you were capable of inter-galactic travel, what would you do on finding Earth.
See these big, smelly, stupid, angry apes killing each other over utterly ridiclous differences of opinion, like "Who's god's best?"
And you would think...
"F*** that, I'll go to Andromeda for my holidays instead."
You just would, wouldn't you.

You are probably more right than we realise, the chances of the Andromedians have our power crazed religious zealots is as many stars in Andromeda
granville583762
5 / 5 (3) Jun 23, 2018
We do not exist engraved in tables of stone in the name of Fermi's Paradox
There's thousands of billions of galaxies in the vacuum of space and in those galaxies are thousands of billions of stars where billions of those stars in each galaxy have planets with natures creature going through their daily lives blissfully unaware of each other in their galaxies and distant galaxies just as we are, because of physical realities of laws of velocity we cannot travel at velocity and ultimately no greater than light.
And then what happen, in the name of science we have an upstart with his proponing theory of life in the trillions of planetary life on their planets unable to communicate their existence, proponing and creating a theory, the equivalent of the Pluto Diminishing Committee stating that because that phone call is impossible due to physics of reality, you do not exist.
Enrico Fermi has engraved in tables of stone in the name of Fermi's Paradox.
Edenlegaia
5 / 5 (2) Jun 23, 2018
Ultimately, if we combine every idea in those comments, we should agree on that:

1° We can't be alone because we don't want to. (We're too stupid, emptiness scares us, customers can't be shop managers, ect.....
2° Whatever exists outside is smarter than us and don't want to interact with us (Because they're having more fun alone, are scared about our behavior, because we're the worst worsters of the worst, because vacations on Earth costs too much for your average alien worker....)
3° Fermi sucks (Because he's a prophet, he's wrong and write on stones and it's invalid VANDALISM!)
4° Whatever is true or not regarding the universe and its population, we're being lied to and what we think hardly matters to what's really happening (Because phys org isn't considered to be a pool of smart and awesome brains)

Wew.
granville583762
5 / 5 (3) Jun 23, 2018
Because there's no phone call were alone
1° We can't be alone because we don't want to. (We're too stupid, emptiness scares us, customers can't be shop managers, ect.....
2° Whatever exists outside is smarter than us and don't want to interact with us (Because they're having more fun alone, are scared about our behavior because we're the worst worsters of the worst, because vacations on Earth costs too much for your average alien worker.)
3° Fermi sucks (Because he's a prophet, he's wrong and write on stones and it's invalid VANDALISM!)
4° Whatever is true or not regarding the universe and its population, we're being lied to and what we think hardly matters to what's really happening (Because phys org isn't considered to be a pool of smart and awesome brains)
Wew.

What I don't get is this obsession were alone because there's no phone call
Has it never occurred to the proponent of this theory were not phoning either!
granville583762
5 / 5 (3) Jun 23, 2018
Were alone because Propositional logic
Propositional calculus is a branch of logic, called propositional logic
where Propositional calculus is in the realms of Predicate Calculus
Mimath224> However, I do rather think we are in the realm of Predicate Calculus since the issue is more subtle than just clouds and rain

As Mimath224 has shown, once in the world of Propositional logic it become mathematical where Propositional calculus moves into the realm of Predicate Calculus and on it goes in its many branches, but as we know from the original application to the weather example it is flawed in its originality
This is why the final text that emerges from this Propositional logic has formed Enrico Fermi's Paradox which is flawed by the application of Propositional logic and its many branches
rogerdallas
5 / 5 (1) Jun 23, 2018
Another possibility is that a critical factor might be whether a civilization is isolated-- that is, the system has no other planets or moons harboring easily detectable life. No other inhabitable world. In that case, the invariable pattern might be very earthlike, in that no checks exist on toxic belief systems and no worlds are available in the system to support a colony escaping toxic conditions on the home world. Intelligent life-forms in such systems would then be too vulnerable to catastrophe and never survive for very long. In the other case, in a system with life flourishing on more than one world, intelligent inhabitants have their question of uniqueness answered immediately. No incentive to communicate, no incentive to explore beyond their system. And who knows what traps and perils might exist in THOSE kinds of systems, that could be fatal to their inhabitants?
Mimath224
not rated yet Jun 23, 2018
I just wonder about E.T. being on the same level as we are so that maybe they've sent probes etc. that won't reach us for thousands of years yet. But that, of course, makes assumptions any of which could be mistaken.
granville583762
5 / 5 (3) Jun 23, 2018
There is one assumption that is fact - were not alone
Mimath224 >I just wonder about E.T. being on the same level as we are so that maybe they've sent probes etc. that won't reach us for thousands of years yet. But that, of course, makes assumptions any of which could be mistaken.

Mimath224:- there is one assumption that is fact - were not alone - were apparently alone for the very reasons we cannot reach out to them because of the laws of physics - just as they cannot reach out to us for the very same reasons.
granville583762
4 / 5 (4) Jun 23, 2018
We will not find our dream locked up on our planet
Mimath224:- When we reach the ability to travel our galaxy, we will encounter the billions of civilisations in our galaxy - using a sort Propositional logic - if you want to meet friends and that dream lady, you have to go out and search, as you will not find your dream locked up at home and this applies to us on our planet, we have go out and meet our aliens friends and that dream alien lady as we will not find our dream locked up on our planet
Edenlegaia
5 / 5 (3) Jun 23, 2018
"When we reach the ability to travel our galaxy, we WILL encounter the billions of civilisations in our galaxy".

Is it a fact? A promise? A...*gasp* PROPHECY?
Beware playing prophet, granville. Giving probabilities allows dreams and hopes, nothing more. If you have billions of civilisations (not even talking about that dream alien lady), you better show us proofs, phone numbers and Facebook accounts.
Else you'd be lying. Surely you don't, do you?
Dansky
5 / 5 (1) Jun 23, 2018
So all of that, just to tell us we don't have enough reliable information? No kidding.

I think one of the biggest factors reducing the chances of finding intelligent ETs, after they get past the challenges of reaching the required level of intelligence, is the time overlap. Will our civilizations reach the ability to transmit/receive messages within a common time window? With a 14B year old universe and the fact that we have only been listening for 50 years, i doubt it.
PTTG
5 / 5 (1) Jun 23, 2018
Also, can we discuss the fact that the title of the article suggests certainty that the actual paper directly opposes?
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (1) Jun 23, 2018
Personally I'm betting that all civilizations develop metastasizing Reprehensibles and make themselves extinct by killing babies because they're the wrong "race."
granville583762
5 / 5 (3) Jun 23, 2018
Edenlegaia> "When we reach the ability to travel our galaxy, we WILL encounter the billions of civilisations in our galaxy".

Is it a fact? A promise? A...*gasp* PROPHECY?
Beware playing prophet, granville. Giving probabilities allows dreams and hopes, nothing more. If you have billions of civilisations (not even talking about that dream alien lady), you better show us proofs, phone numbers and Facebook accounts.
Else you'd be lying. Surely you don't, do you?

I just looked on facebook for alien requests, could not find any aliens, but looking at the content you might disagree
granville583762
5 / 5 (3) Jun 23, 2018
Edenlegaia> "When we reach the ability to travel our galaxy, we WILL encounter the billions of civilisations in our galaxy".

Is it a fact? A promise? A...*gasp* PROPHECY?
Beware playing prophet, granville. Giving probabilities allows dreams and hopes, nothing more. If you have billions of civilisations (not even talking about that dream alien lady), you better show us proofs, phone numbers and Facebook accounts.
Else you'd be lying. Surely you don't, do you?

Oh, it's no prophecy - just the shears numbers and just as one star is identical to another star, galaxies are identical to each other as are blackholes or whatever you choose to compare to another one
Just as humans are identical worldwide don't be surprised in the familiar similarity of the aliens we meet
KBK
not rated yet Jun 23, 2018
I don't think anyone is going to convince any others of anything here, today.

It's more a case of stating strongly held positions, like the apes screaming at each other from either side of the pond, in 2001.

This, like the Monty Python skit, is not argument, it's abuse.
Mimath224
not rated yet Jun 23, 2018
I don't think anyone is going to convince any others of anything here, today.
It's more a case of stating strongly held positions, like the apes screaming at each other from either side of the pond, in 2001.
This, like the Monty Python skit, is not argument, it's abuse.

I think more to the point is; does it even matter? I don't see any evidence that our society is bracing itself for any type of alien 'impact' anytime soon. What I do see is the private sector gearing itself up for possible near future mining on the Moon and Mars. Perhaps they will dig up something interesting and if they don't they'll carry on not giving interference by ET a second thought.
katesisco
4.5 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2018
Dr P Ward agrees intelligence is rare. I suspect we are unable to get past our nuclear moment as J Foster's character asks in Contact. So that makes intelligence ephemeral, here and gone, in a moment. Just enough to tinker and forget how fragile we are.
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (1) Jun 24, 2018
Just because the stars we see twinkle brightly,, does not mean they are all the same. Just as the galaxies come in a wild assortment? So do our stellar neighbors.

What has been observed? Many of those stars are unstable. Those planets detected in unsustainable orbits.

It amuses me those of you who try to dictate your opinions of what reality is? Upon a disinterested Universe. That disregards your insistence of rules and laws to govern the cosmic mechanism.

You prattle on childishly of imaginary aliens and their unobtanium based super-duper technology. Yet you disregard the evidence, right here in our own solar system. Out of the five definite Inner Planets and maybe a half-dozen GG moons improbably? Only one is a Living World. With a declining chance that there may have been life on Mars. Several billion years ago.

Out of all the intelligent creatures on this world. Only one has achieved technology and only for a few centuries before killing the biosphere.
Tessellatedtessellations
5 / 5 (1) Jun 24, 2018
I guess it would be foolish to invest my savings in that Anal Probe Shack franchise now.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jun 24, 2018
It's very obvious that we are going to be replaced by a machine singularity very soon, and if others exist they would have no reason whatsoever to talk with us in our pre-machine state. This can explain why the universe appears silent.

But if these guys are right and intelligence is THAT rare, then the need to disperse ourselves as far and wide as possible, along with our technology, is even more urgent.

If the primary purpose of a singularity would be to survive then our primary purpose is to ensure that it emerges before we disappear.

If our existence is indeed happenstance then we must adopt a purpose for ourselves. We need no gods to do it for us.

We have the duty to preserve the store of knowledge we have accumulated, and to make certain that it be used to create the singularity.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jun 24, 2018
It amuses me those of you who try to dictate your opinions of what reality is... You prattle on childishly
Your weltanschuung is colored by the fact that you're a psychopath.

What a burden.
rrwillsj
3 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2018
Sorry otto, but if you are the self-proclaimed prophet bleating for all the other sheeple to follow your divine vision to a pluperfect promised land?

I'm staying here and grazing the greenery in my little patch.

Putting up with an 'immortal utopia' designed by the likes of you and your cult of crazy desperation? Eternal punishment reminiscent of that inflicted by "The Devil in Miss Jones".

My choice is a moderate lifespan, a satisfying legacy of happy descendants and looking forward to nonexistence.

"Ooohh, yummy fresh alfalfa!"
LED Guy
not rated yet Jun 24, 2018
I would posit that the Drake equation leaves out a significant factor - the information age/social media.

Breakthroughs used to be made by exceptional individuals who had to master (or at least retain) information from multiple fields. Now we can "google" a quick summary - why bother retaining information or even knowing about how our answer was derived.

The time delay between formulating a question in your mind and finally finding an answer meant that a significant amount of time was spent considering implications and factors. If I can find an answer on line in 15 seconds, why would I keep thinking about it?

As for social media, millions of people slavishly follow the exploits and activities of a handful of individuals. That allows those select individuals to have an enormous impact on society. I would hazard to guess that far more people know about the latest happenings in the Kardashian family than have ever spent serious effort on a project like SETI.
LED Guy
not rated yet Jun 24, 2018
Social media is a serious barrier to progress. It has given us no end of conspiracy theories and in its current implementation feeds us information that reinforces what we already believe. It acts as a echo chamber.

In the past an opinion held by 1 person in 100,000 died because the chances of finding someone else with the same opinion was negligible Thanks to the internet that same person could probably find quite a few of the 3,000+ people (in the US alone) who share that view.

There were far fewer "founding fathers" in the US at the start of the revolutionary war.
arcmetal
5 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2018
They probably have their reasons for not communicating, just as we have our reasons for not acknowledging them.
-JJ-
not rated yet Jun 25, 2018
Also, can we discuss the fact that the title of the article suggests certainty that the actual paper directly opposes?


I agree that the title is misleading. The strongest claim in the article is: "...it simply means that we can say with greater confidence – based on what we know – that humanity is most likely the only intelligent species in the Milky Way Galaxy at present."
GoodElf
1 / 5 (1) Jun 25, 2018
Why would you waste time communicating with such an ignorant, warlike species that would rather kill than communicate? We have not achieved any form of Interstellar Travel, that would be the minimum for any "First Contact". As a toxic planetary culture we have difficulty having civil relationships within our own species? On a knowledge scale of 1 to 10 on all counts that's a "zero" rating. Better places to go to and see. One accidental stop here and they would be convinced that there is nothing interesting to see here for another 1000 years (if ever). They would spread the word.

Next point is paranoid governments, who are desperate to control their burgeoning populations, are reluctant to have them properly informed and all people believe what they want, exercising total ignorance of known facts already. We probably do not have what it takes to survive long term, don't worry about "aliens", we will probably cause our own ecological "tipping event" very soon, if not some years ago.
yaridanjo
1 / 5 (1) Jun 26, 2018
Where are all the ET aliens? Right under the noses of our so called (government funded) scientists. First, sentient species form in groups of seven. There are two right here on Earth, and it appears we are the less intelligent one. For the others, look here for what they are like and where they are from:
http://yaridanjo....r.html#2
yaridanjo
1 / 5 (1) Jun 26, 2018
We are so dumb that we can't even find 'planet Nine' that the Akkadians knew about 4300 years ago. The Cenos aliens told them:
http://barry.warm...d.html#2
VULCAN IN ANCIENT DATA
Here in the USA, we don't even realize that we are run by an oligarchy:
https://www.washi...c-unive/
America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
We are so dumb, we hope professional liars will tell us about ET aliens:
https://www.cbsne...-aliens/
White House denies contact with space aliens
The aliens may believe that our political leaders are genocidal psychopaths and may have terminated communications with them in order to save the human race.
granville583762
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 26, 2018
Fermi's paradox states we are the only life in the universe
The sun is approaching the end of its life
As the sun dies the light will go dark on the universe, there will be no more life in the universe
Merrit
not rated yet Jun 28, 2018
First of all our existence has no effect on the probability of intelligent life evolving on a planet or moon etc. we need to look elsewhere in the universe to determine how common life is and so far we have found life besides our own. So it is looking to be pretty low so far. When we can begin checking for signs of life on exoplanets then we will have a better idea
Merrit
not rated yet Jun 28, 2018
Second of all these UFO sightings make absolutely no sense if you stop and think about it for a second. An alien species would either be orbiting the planet or land on the surface. Flying around close to the surface in our atmosphere is a total waste of resources and completely pointless. I don't hear any reports of ULO. Unidentified landed objects. Sorry bros but people don't take UFO sightings seriously for a reason.
GoodElf
not rated yet Jun 28, 2018
Regarding "UFO's"... if we are referring to the "observable Universe" then what's seems to be hovering in our skies is at least a portion of that which is "observable". Observations of that kind are happening tens of thousands of times a year over the entire planet. Almost every one is ignored by the press and by governments everywhere. "All" these incidents might be "false alarms". However the reality of "global security" in this nuclear era is that it is essential such events do not clog global highways and communication channels as they once did in the 50s. A threat of an immanent nuclear attack by a "real terrestrial enemy" could be hidden/facilitated by such a "distraction" event, so the authorities automatically suppress this information in the name of "public safety". The UN has special laws to prevent anyone contacting "aliens from space". A false "flash" from a single orbiting sensor can start WWIII. Any public awareness of "aliens" equals a big security problem.
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (1) Jun 29, 2018
An "unidentified/unidentifiable phenomena" is just that. An "unidentified/unidentifiable phenomena". And nothing more!

To leap to the assumption that since it has not been identified? It must be an alien craft. Is as honest as claiming it must a flock of faeries on flying unicorns or a flaming chariot pulled by seraphim.

Worse than the complete lack of credibility among those peddling these bogus claims? Is that such propaganda shreds at a civil society with claws of falsifications to obscure accurate communications.

The only way such vast conspiracy can exist is if you keep feeding it with credulous nonsense. Which makes you "True Believers" part of the conspiracy of lies.

GoodElf
not rated yet Jun 29, 2018
The real problem with "unidentifiable" random phenomena is "UFO's" are not "passive" natural occurrences in "nature" that may be observed and dissected at will by our species. This creates a new class of observations humans, in their pride, do not wish to admit may happen (we are just the "lab rats" here). If these "unidentified events", which have an alarming unheralded frequency in our skies, are the result of ourselves being the ones that are under observation rather than ourselves observing some kind of insignificant bacteria under a microscope and "classifying" it at will, we are culturally disquieted by "having the tables turned on us" by a more technologically advanced species. Additionally there is no obligation on "aliens", who might be making their own separate scientific observations, known to us (the subjects) deliberately exposing themselves and "spoiling" their similar requirements to make "passive" observations of a new "inferior species". Just ask David Attenborough.
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2018
GE, if you are being closely observed all the time? You could ask the orderlies to turn the cameras off.

You fear that you are inferior? Put the comicbooks away and crack open your schoolbooks. The taxpayers are tired of supporting your intellectually lazy ass through several repetitions of sixth-grade.

All those "conspiring" against you? Seem completely justified to me! Here's Your Sign!
snerdguy
not rated yet Jun 30, 2018
"Observable" universe is misleading to many. It's like saying that we can't prove that a football game exists because we couldn't see any evidence while looking through a tiny pin hole drilled from the outside of the stadium wall all the way through the inner wall during the five minutes we watched early on a Tuesday morning in mid summer. We, the residents of Earth, have not existed long enough, let alone had the technology to have much of any chance to encounter evidence of aliens. The way we behave suggests that's probably best for everyone.
GoodElf
not rated yet Jul 01, 2018
"GE... You fear that you are inferior?"
No... I fear that you are inferior. When you run empty of ideas you turn to abuse. If you had anything constructive to say you would have actually said it.
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (1) Jul 01, 2018
AGoodElfIsADeadDrunkElf, Crankery, stuporstition and outright fraud are undeserving of polite response but need to be actively confronted.

GE and the rest of your claque, I am neither your therapist, your caretaker or an investigating officer from your local Bunco squad. I have no need to be polite to any of you!
GoodElf
not rated yet Jul 01, 2018
Assuming there are other civilizations "out there", every up and coming civilization in the Universe has passed or will pass through our stage of barbarism at some time. It is no shame to be a "new kid" on the block. Our argument as a species for inclusiveness (if we get any choice at all), will depend on if we fall into the "noble savage" or "predatory monster" category. It is a "big block" and currently we are only able to inflict your kind of "impolite response" on our own species here on this Earth. it will not be a case of simply obeying the local rules or being too cleaver to avoid a just settlement of our actions. From day one of "First Contact", by definition, they would be technically superior to us. Where will those who have no respect for any civilization hide then? Maybe some of us will always be "predatory monsters". So any hope for you & those others about you might have depends on an "individual justice".

On the other hand you could start by just being polite first.
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (1) Jul 01, 2018
"Polite"? Hahahhaahah!
Where did being polite ever get the indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, ANZ, Asia or any damn where else that had the misfortune to become the target of "Pious White European Christian-Capitalist Civilizing Imperialism"?

You making reparations and restitution? If the First Nations handed you a fistful of beads? Would you accept those as payment-in-full for Manhattan Island?
GoodElf
not rated yet Jul 01, 2018
You are comparing apples with oranges. What was done in the past is "over", as we are all still savages then and now. We are still learning but "change" is always disquieting, Intentions on both sides of past conflicts were the same, only the numbers & weaponry differ. Technical superiority always won out against pure savagery (except in the latest Tarzan Movie of course). In the future we will potentially encounter truly superior technology, not centuries, but eons in advance, they will represent a consortium of "elder civilizations" with a lot of "past experience" that our species would not be willing to understand or accept. You really do not expect the "aliens" to line up in a field armed only with muskets do you? Then you can speak of "true atonement" for past crimes as pure savagery will become it's own reward. They would not want any opposition, they would pick targets from a great distance using remote agents (like we do) and "eliminate them" making the way forward safe.

rrwillsj
1 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2018
GE, really? "... What was done in the past is "over...." is your excuse?

Defendant's attorney addressing the Court "Your Honor, the Prosecution has made a very credible case against my client. Robbing that 7/11. Shooting the clerk & a customer. Killing the driver of the vehicle he carjacked to make his escape. Smashing the vehicle at high-speed through a crowd of people. Shooting it out with the police in mid-town. Killing one officer, wounding two more. Fatally shooting at random several innocent bystanders. Ending with blowing up a gas station, inflicting more casualties & fatalities. Before meekly surrendering, begging the approaching officers to not hurt him.

Obviously my client is a victim of yourthful impetuousness. He promises that he has learned his lesson & will never offend again. How could this Court fail to show clemency for such an upstanding example of Patriotic White American Christianity?"

GE my story is a lot more reality then your fairytale.
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
1 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2018
I have several problems with this work.

For one, there is no Fermi "paradox" - Fermi asked and answered the question where are they by noticing that we do not know if interstellar travel is possible - and we have not researched the question so much yet that radio or optical astronomy empties the question.

For another, I note that they have replaced more or less uncertain point estimates with guesstimates by amalgamate published ranges of various kinds, which goes counter to their stated intent of avoiding guesstimates.

For another criticism, go here: https://www.forbe...df797d3b
GoodElf
not rated yet Jul 02, 2018
@rrwillsj
It's "over" in the sense that it is irrevocable. The decision by one to cause this level of damage to others is now "over". This is the imperfect way a society that puts value on everything puts a value on all lives, both victims and perpetrators. Should we punish or should we isolate these felons? It's a choice. "Civilization" will not allow either party to carry on an eternal "blood feud" as happens in more primitive social systems. Are you suggesting this should be the alternative? It is a system not limited to just "Patriotic White American Christianity".

While events might be "over" that does not mean "settled in full". The way to settle these matters depends on if these individuals are to ever be reintegrated into Civilization again. Or should they be exiled permanently? We once had deportation to the colonies as an option to the death sentence. And sometimes it is difficult to tell real criminals from the innocent. "Social currency" is not a right, it is earned.
GoodElf
not rated yet Jul 02, 2018
@torbjorn_b_g_larsson
It's an imperfect work. Ethan Siegel's Article is correct. Garbage in then garbage out. Perhaps it is simply exploiting the fact that few papers ever discuss this option (it is so improbable). The majority of papers analyzing "Fermi paradox" assume "Aliens" are there but are too far away to reach us, signal to us, or are extinct. But we are still savages so propagating radio waves which mostly takes thousands of years to exchange a single bit of data, appear to us to be the only way. Even now we know of a more efficient way to signal between the stars would be through quantum teleportation using heralded flying qubits & by decoding the ancillary "unspeakable" information. Then this analogy is a case of "Fermi's Paradox for Natives in the Jungle" believing they were alone because nobody is signalling them using jungle drums, & as far as they could travel there were no other tribes to be seen, while the chatter of unseen electromagnetic waves are all around them.
GoodElf
not rated yet Jul 06, 2018
For another opinion you might have seen the recent article by Kevin Knuth, Professor of Physics, University at Albany, State University of New York who was until very recently a NASA Research Scientist. He has written, IMHO, the "definitive" article on this matter, and he apparently criticizes the study above head on. See: "Have aliens visited Earth? Question worthy of study, says physicist"... http://earthsky.o...hysicist
He is certainly not alone in this matter. Many authorities in the past have made statements to this effect. While UFO's might not exist there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that they just might be there after all. The point being is governments would "appear" to know this fact and are not communicating it to the taxpaying public. UFO's are the granddaddy of all Conspiracy Theories and with tens of thousands of sightings worldwide every year, just will not go "quietly into the night". You don't know what you don't know.

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