[ExI] SETI for Post Singularity Civs

Flexman, Connor connor_flexman at brown.edu
Thu Jan 22 19:44:23 UTC 2015

I think the main point of conflict over the debate in this thread arises
from people considering two different phenomenon. John Clark is making the
important point that the giant lack of obvious large-scale engineering is
STRONG EVIDENCE in favor of there being no civilizations in our galaxy that
have the capacity for large-scale engineering. In the last few emails I
have counted >10 nice, creative alternative hypotheses for why we don't see
some specific type of this evidence, and these are very helpful to clarify
where the null hypothesis might be wrong. However, it's important to make
this distinction, that where our priors strongly suggest that large-scale
engineering would be visible as large-scale engineering, alternative
hypotheses need to be extraordinarily powerful and explanatory to beat out
the null hypothesis. I am glad we are generating all these other thoughts,
but it should be noted that the obvious leader is that there exist no such
civilizations. It may help our cumulative understanding to keep this in
mind, consider all the evidence that there is no such civilization, and if
someone has a hypothesis that they think is strong enough to be in the top
2 or 3 (of course others are helpful to mention to, but with the caveat
that they're improbable), they note the predictive power of that and why it
can explain many of the phenomenon we see.

Non est salvatori salvator,
neque defensori dominus,
nec pater nec mater,
nihil supernum.
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