[ExI] fermi paradox- weighted summary
pharos at gmail.com
Thu Dec 6 13:32:53 UTC 2007
On Dec 5, 2007 10:26 PM, Kevin Freels wrote:
> I suspect that the problem with the Fermi Paradox is simply a
> misunderstanding that will be solved in time and is not a true paradox.
No paradox. That's just the way the Universe is.
Seth Shostak has just written a piece about this subject.
By Seth Shostak
Senior Astronomer, SETI
posted: 06 December 2007
For years scientists have wrestled with a puzzling fact: The universe
appears to be remarkably suited for life. Its physical properties are
finely tuned to permit our existence. Stars, planets and the kind of
sticky chemistry that produces fish, ferns and folks wouldn't be
possible if some of the cosmic constants were only slightly different.
Well, there's another property of the universe that's equally
noteworthy: It's set up in a way that keeps everyone isolated.
The distances between adjacent stars are measured in tens of trillions
of miles. The distances between adjacent civilizations, even assuming
that there are lots of them out there, are measured in thousands of
trillions of miles – hundreds of light-years, to use a more tractable
unit. Note that this number doesn't change much no matter how many
planets you believe are studded with sentients – the separation
distance is pretty much the same whether you think there are ten
thousand galactic societies or a million.
So, the time scales for travel and communication are too long for easy
interaction with beings whose lifetimes are, like us, only a century
or less. So while the cosmos could easily be rife with intelligent
life – the architecture of the universe, and not some Starfleet Prime
Directive, has ensured precious little interference of one culture
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