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Tuesday, March 11, 2008
  A possible solution to The Fermi Paradox
The Fermi paradox is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for, or contact with, such civilizations.

For me, anyway, this is a fantastic philosophical question, great for giving the brain a good workout as there are so many different angles you can take it.

Obviously there's no RIGHT answer, but here's my current thinking on this...

- It's reasonable to assume that evolution on our planet is normal, if our planet is an average planet, orbiting an average star, in an average galaxy, we have reason to doubt this.
- So I think it's also reasonable to assume that on other similarly-sized planets that when intelligent life does evolve, it would do so at one particular spot on the planet.
- Those intelligent beings would relatively early on in their evolution develop the ability to travel long distances and then begin to spread out, migrate across the planet.
- This then creates the opportunity for distinct groups to begin to develop independently of one another, and thus in an asynchronous way.
- Some groups will advance quicker than others, whether it be due to weather, availability of natural resources, etc.
- If you fast forward several thousands years, you end up with (a) groups of intelligent beings that have really advanced technologies, potentially including technologies that in the wrong hands could spell existential risks (Nuclear Weapons, Nanotechnology, etc), living alongside (b) groups of intelligent beings that still believe in ancient mythologies, and believe that their worldview is the absolute truth and that anyone who does NOT share their view (including those in group (a)) should be destroyed.
- Once group (b) gets a hold of the technologies created by group (a), in their attempt to follow their beliefs & mythologies they end up wiping out the entire planet, and voila... We see no signs of intelligent life in the cosmos....

I'd love to hear some comments, am I totally offbase or it is reasonable to assume that this is not only a possibility, but perhaps a distinct probability and almost a universal challenge?

Next Question: Is there ANYTHING that can be done to get all of humanity on the same page in terms of what it will take to allow our species to escape this possibility...
I do think you are correct that the challenge of getting an entire intelligent species on the same page is the ultimate challenge.

As for what can be done... It starts with religion. We need a world religion or more accurately an anti-religion. With all the reasoned dogmatic statements that people need in their lives pre-generated for them. I believe this is underway.

I believe the UN needs to ban religious teachings (specifically beliefs in agents without scientific evidence) within the next twenty years or else we are in for a bumpy ride.
I think one possible solution for the Fermi paradox is the nature of technological singularities. Based on the progression of "progress" I would speculate that NO intelligent civilization is able to make extraterrestrial contact prior to a technological singularity. This seems to be the path we are headed on.
"I believe the UN needs to ban religious teachings"

lol - Pete I don't think I've ever disagreed with somethng you've stated more than I disagree with that comment.

My first reaction comes in the form of abject horror at what it would mean to actually give the UN that kind of authority. You'd be ok with submitting to the authority of a group of international beaurocrats when it comes to what you can and cannot teach your own children?
wow did I ever spell bureaucrats wrong....! :-)
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A personal blog by John Walter.

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I think a lot. Some people say I think too much... However, I don't want to be seen as being aloof or pretentious, it's just that I really enjoy philosophical questions and deep thoughts. That's not to say that I don't find pleasure in more down-to-earth or trivial things, like beer and soccer :) I'm happily married with 3 wonderful children. I'm a partner in a technology services company based in Toronto. Myers Briggs says I'm an ENTJ

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