[ExI] Silence in the sky-but why?

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Wed Aug 28 16:34:29 UTC 2013

On Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 1:43 AM, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:

> On Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 11:11:48PM +0200, Anders Sandberg wrote:
> > OK, please hide under the cover: Stuart's and my paper multiplies
> > the number of relevant stars by a factor of 10^6-10^9. So instead of
> > one chance in a trillion of intelligent life, the above argument
> > requires it to be one in a quintillion or one in a sextillion.
> Rarity is not relevant for self-observation. Common as dirt
> or infinitely rare, you can't tell in absence of an external
> observer.

Quite.  The argument needs it to be one in a sextillion?  Fine, it is.
That's just as justifiable, given our current (extremely minimal) evidence.

> > ten million years, it seems hard to argue that the step from life to
> > intelligence is *that* low probability. So if you believe in an
> And the answer is: we just have no idea.

Indeed.  It is in fact trivially easy to argue that the step from life to
intelligence is *that* low probability.  More accurately, the steps from
planet through life to intelligence: we don't yet have confirmation of life
on any non-Earth planet, especially outside our solar system; the only
solid evidence people are arguing from is the number of stars and planets,
and that some of those planets have some characteristics similar to Earth
that are believed to be conducive to life.
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