[ExI] Bad News for Fermi Paradox?
stathisp at gmail.com
Fri Aug 11 14:38:39 UTC 2017
On Sat, 12 Aug 2017 at 12:25 am, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:
> The implications of cosmic silence
> August 11, 2017 by Bob Whitby
> "I taught astronomy for 37 years," said Whitmire. "I used to tell my
> students that by statistics, we have to be the dumbest guys in the
> galaxy. After all we have only been technological for about 100 years
> while other civilizations could be more technologically advanced than
> us by millions or billions of years."
> Recently, however, he's changed his mind. By applying a statistical
> concept called the principle of mediocrity – the idea that in the
> absence of any evidence to the contrary we should consider ourselves
> typical, rather than atypical – Whitmire has concluded that instead of
> lagging behind, our species may be average. That's not good news.
> In a paper published Aug. 3 in the International Journal of
> Astrobiology, Whitmire argues that if we are typical, it follows that
> species such as ours go extinct soon after attaining technological
> knowledge. (The paper is also available on Whitmire's website.)
> By Whitmire's definition we became "technological" after the
> industrial revolution and the invention of radio, or roughly 100 years
> ago. According to the principle of mediocrity, a bell curve of the
> ages of all extant technological civilizations in the universe would
> put us in the middle 95 percent. In other words, technological
> civilizations that last millions of years, or longer, would be highly
> atypical. Since we are first, other typical technological
> civilizations should also be first. The principle of mediocrity allows
> no second acts. The implication is that once species become
> technological, they flame out and take the biosphere with them.
Isn't this a variant of the Doomsday Argument?
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