[ExI] Drake Equation Musings

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Sun May 15 17:22:42 UTC 2016

On Sun, May 15, 2016  BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:

​> ​
> The astronomers Adam Frank and Woodruff Sullivan have an interesting
> paper out where they’ve essentially flipped the Drake Equation on its
> head. If that equation is meant to give us some handle on the
> probability that there are aliens out there, Frank and Sullivan have
> used the plethora of exoplanets discovered since the launch of the
> Kepler space telescope to calculate the chance that, so far, we alone
> have been the only advanced civilization in the 13.7 billion year
> history of the universe. I won’t bore you with actual numbers, but
> they estimate the chance that we’re the first and only is 1 in 10
> billion trillion. I shouldn’t have to tell you that is a really,
> really small number.

Astronomers alone can never produce a meaningful figure of the likelihood
of ET. Yes astronomy can come up with amazingly big numbers
​ ​
but biology can come up with amazingly small numbers; if you multiply those
2 numbers together do you get a number greater than one? The Great Silence
makes me think the answer is no
and in the very big (or very small) numbers game Biology is the boss not

 one of the factors in the Drake Equation is not biological or
astronomical, it's the lifetime of a technological civilization.  Donald
Trump may be able to show us
​exactly ​
how that works.

 John K Clark​
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