[ExI] Where are they? was Re: 2^57885161-1

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Feb 20 17:28:55 UTC 2013

On Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 03:23:38PM +0000, BillK wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 2:22 PM, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> <snip>
> > Expansive life doesn't just gaze, it visits. And changes
> > stellar system in its wake.
> > _______________________________________________
> >
> Exactly!  So why are we still here? (As the universe is billions of years old).

How do you watch yourself having never been born?

The universe might be old, but what you see that far *is*
gigayears old. Metallicity goes up via stellar nucleosynthesis,
and in general the early environment seems to be a lot
harsher than now. But that has nothing to do with
how rare observable life is. It just says that the
farther you look, the worse are the odds.
> What we see tells us that advanced civs are not expansive and don't

No, it doesn't tell you that at all. Self-observation
is not a valid source of probability values. The dies
are massively weighted in your favor. What we need is
fair dice, and we don't have access to these yet.

> change stellar systems.
> (You seem to be hung up on insisting that advanced civs will behave

Darwinian selection assures diversity, towards all ends of the
complexity spectrum. Darwinian systems are out of control, and
hence some species, even a dominant one, is in no position to
enforce policy.

You are a member of the local dominant, intelligent (well, ok)
species. How much control do you exert over the members of just
your own species, nevermind the hissing cockroaches halfway
around the world?

> like viruses. What is intelligence for, if not to control
> over-breeding?).

Intelligence which limits breeding appears a negatively selective
> Your theory seems to be like saying there must be a monster hiding
> under the bed or in a cupboard. We can't see it, but just you wait,
> any minute now it is going to leap out and grab you!  :)

No, my theory is that you will never see that monster.
Unless you look in the mirror, that is.

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