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To paraphrase: the Fermi Paradox asks that if extraterrestrial life is common in the universe, why can they not be observed yet?

The explanation (that I think is the best) is that distances are too far away for civilizations to communicate or meet.

I think this is a good explanation of this paradox because there is an ultimate speed limit for everything in the universe (light, energy, matter, information, etc.) and anything traveling at this speed would still take a long time to move from star to star. Sure, there could be wormholes and Alcubierre Drives might bypass these distances but I'd assume a civilization would be far advanced to use such methods, assuming they exist...because of the energy and science necessary for such phenomena, such civilizations might be indeed a rare occurrence and few and far between.

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The explanation I like best is about the great filters.

Basically: Filters are what may prevent a civilisation to reach the spacefaring stage. As far as I know, we're currently a Type 0.5 Civilisation., Type 1 being able to fully use all of their planets ressources or something like that. Type 2 is a spacefaring civilation. 


What the great filters are, is unknown, could be a lot, most common belief seems to be that it's "We destroy ourselves" type of stuff. Looking at how we're destroying the planet we life on, I'd agree, and it's the reason why I like this theory best - because it seems very plausible to me, heh. 

But we still don't know for sure where we are. Maybe we already passt some filters that prevented others to reach even this stage! Maybe we are the first to have come this far. 
Signs of extraterrestial civilations would, in this case, be bad for us, because that'd almost certainly mean we still have those filters all before us.

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I think the possibilities that there is what we consider intelligent life to be out there bopping around the cosmos to be high- I’m torn between the layman explanation likelihood of the distances are too great & even if they weren’t if we as a collective were to be observed- any intelligent species would have the wisdom to avoid our destructive ways.  
The realist paranoid conspiracy theorist in me tho, says if anybody ever does show up we will likely be hoping they didn’t, cause let’s be frank, they went thru a lot of effort to get here & it’s likely not to eat Reese’s Pieces with us.  👽 

In the end tho, I think the likelihood that some freakish Andromeda Strain is released on us when the first Space-X satellites comes crashing down to out weigh actual visitors from beyond... 

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Why, light speed is a thing, of course. So, for us to be contacted by an alien civilization, it's almost a given they'd have to use FTL (faster than light) technology: wormholes, Alcubierre Drives, what have you. If not, we'd only be looking an evidence of an alien civilization that existed millions/billions of years ago (Sic!).

So, yeah, light speed is definitely a thing. Much like it's said God, having the entire Universe for a dwelling, is a slow thinker, what with His thoughts only traveling across the Universe at the speed of light.**

Thing just is, any FTL civilization is, by definition, so far ahead of us, they'd either have no interest contacting, or -- if they did -- only to get our resources or something (like water), as we'd mean nothing to them.

So, be afraid; be very afraid!

 

** He could be using ludicrous speed, of coure. 😜

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Posted (edited)

It's not only that they're very probably very faraway from each other, but there are many factors too which each multiplies the improbability that two advanced civilization would meet one another;

  1. There aren't that many planets which has the capability to support life.
  2. Then a life-form on each of said planets need to evolve enough to become an intelligent life-form, intelligence being not always necessary for survival compared to brute strength, so evolution might not always favor this.
  3. Then that intelligent, advanced life-form need to create and maintain a civilization which allows for space-faring, interstellar technologies to exist.
  4. Then that intelligent, advanced civilization which has the technologies to do interstellar space travel needs to have the desire to do so, or to meet other advanced civilizations, which might not always be the case considering it might actually be an existential threat for an advanced civilization to meet another one.
  5. Then their technologies need to be used in a way that don't end up in them destroying themselves, which is even more probable to happen the more advanced your civilization is and technologies are.
  6. Then after so long, they will need to still have the will or desire to continue existing after so long, since it's also possible that a civilization or society collectively decided or concluded that life or existence brings more pain than joy and decided to end their own existence.
  7. And then there are other factors such as; whether or not such advanced civilization would remain expansive, or maybe they even decided that existing virtually is much more energy-efficient and decided to do so, being able to slow their perception of time millions of times over, allowing them to live a very, very long life or existence in a short amount of time according to our standards - leaving the physical world's needs to maintain their energy source to automatons.
  8. Then finally there's time, if such an advanced civilization which has passed the aforementioned "filters" (how futurists like to call them) existed, it's very possible that they might have been long gone or extincted, or is still in the process of becoming an interstellar civilization.

So yeah, I agree with the fermi paradox and the great filters theories, but it's much more than just a matter of great distance.

 

Edited by lucagrabacr
typos
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i think that were there to be a species capable of interstellar travel then they would also be advanced enough to have something similar to the Star Trek first directive. Non-interference in a lesser species evolution

from the lesser species pov, they are out there somewhere, we just can't detect them

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4 minutes ago, Amina Sopwith said:

I'm probably displaying my less-evolved capacities here, but I don't understand why that's a paradox? 

It's a paradox because the notion is that there are so many stars and planets, so it seems illogical for space to not be littered by advanced lifeforms. Not a really strong paradox like the usual logical paradoxes so I share your view, but it was coined that way nevertheless. A lot of futurists and scientists have came up with possible explanations since.

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Amina Sopwith said:

I'm probably displaying my less-evolved capacities here, but I don't understand why that's a paradox? 

The paradox is : if there are so many stars including exo-planets out there like our own solarsystem and while we are observing the universe , why don' t we see ANYTHING  of civilized ( developed ) activity ? Life like we know it should be abundant. And it isn't .

Enrico Fermi was the first to bring this up.

Edited by TDD123
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2 minutes ago, Amina Sopwith said:

I'm probably displaying my less-evolved capacities here, but I don't understand why that's a paradox? 

The version above is shortened too much.

  • There are hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way similar to our sun.
  • Statistically speaking, it is extremely likely that many of these stars are orbited by Earth-like planets.
  • It is extremely likely that some of these planets will have life on them.
  • Given enough time, it is extremely likely that some of this life will evolve into intelligent civilisations capable of space travel.
  • The Milky Way could be completely explored in the space of millions of years, even at the slow speeds we can currently explain.
  • Many stars are billions of years older than the Sun.
  • It is therefore extremely likely that Earth has been visited by an extraterrestrial civilisation.
  • We have no recorded evidence of such a visit.

It's not so much a paradox in the traditional sense, as it is a conflict between probability and scale suggesting that we must have been visited by intelligent life, and the total lack of evidence of intelligent life anywhere but Earth.

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The Fermi paradox should be a consideration that IF there is no other life like ours anywhere at all, we might reconsider our position.

 

We might be VERY alone in this universe.

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Posted (edited)

Perhaps I don't understand the concept of a paradox as well as I thought I did...I guess there are just so many possible explanations for this that it doesn't strike me as paradoxical or even marginally inexplicable in any way. Distances that are too vast for people with only Earth resources to travel are minuscule with regards to an infinite universe. We can't even get a person to Mars yet, though we can get rovers there.

The conditions for life as we know it are quite precise (we have the Goldilocks planet). I would absolutely expect them to exist somewhere else in an infinite, ever-changing space but it doesn't surprise me if they don't exist close enough for us to find them at this relatively early stage in our civilisation's space-related development, or at all. It would be like living in a remote part of the outback with only a bicycle to travel on. There's plenty of life out there, beyond your area, and for the space it covers it's quite common, but it's pretty obvious why you can't find it. 

 

Edited by Amina Sopwith
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Any civilisation advanced enough for interstellar travel would surely also have the technology to remain undetected?

This planet is asset depleted, and infested with barbaric primates without and sense of the greater good. Why would they come here? Apart from to study us.

Maybe they are already here. Maybe we are their lab rats.

If we worked together we have the collective intelligence to go further into space but we wrap ourselves up in petty land grabs, misusing wealth from oil and precious metals, and killing those who disagree with us. The earth's bounty should benefit everybody. It doesn't. This is our limiting filter. Selfishness.

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44 minutes ago, Amina Sopwith said:

There's plenty of life out there, beyond your area, and for the space it covers it's quite common, but it's pretty obvious why you can't find it.

You might think that. And scientist ' calculated'  the chance. ( We only need to find proof on one planet amongst billions ).

And you got NO PROOF SO FAR.

That' s the paradox Fermi stated and still goes on to this day. Whatever you might assume about possibilities. The possibility remains we will ALWAYS be alone stuck here on this globe.

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25 minutes ago, BelindaN said:

Any civilisation advanced enough for interstellar travel would surely also have the technology to remain undetected?

Considering the distances in the universe, that civilisation would need to find means to travel BEYOND LIGHTSPEED.

Einstein pointed out anything physical doing that requires so much energy , it' s MASS will become as heavy as the universe itself.

There' s no engine like this possible , only in the fictional part of Science Fiction.

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2 minutes ago, TDD123 said:

Considering the distances in the universe, that civilisation would need to find means to travel BEYOND LIGHTSPEED.

Einstein pointed out anything physical doing that requires so much energy , it' s MASS will become as heavy as the universe itself.

There' s no engine like this possible , only in the fictional part of Science Fiction.

What if Einstein missed something?

Just what if?

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, BelindaN said:

What if Einstein missed something?

Just what if?

Then the machine can be built.

Go ahead. Build it and proof him wrong.

ETA : Also consider : Distances are so vast . It takes light billions of years to travel.

Edited by TDD123
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"We have not been given the lead in the cosmic drama. Perhaps someone else has. Perhaps no one else has. In either case, we have good reason for humility." --Carl Sagan.

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1 hour ago, Amina Sopwith said:

Perhaps I don't understand the concept of a paradox as well as I thought I did...I guess there are just so many possible explanations for this that it doesn't strike me as paradoxical or even marginally inexplicable in any way. Distances that are too vast for people with only Earth resources to travel are minuscule with regards to an infinite universe. We can't even get a person to Mars yet, though we can get rovers there.

The conditions for life as we know it are quite precise (we have the Goldilocks planet). I would absolutely expect them to exist somewhere else in an infinite, ever-changing space but it doesn't surprise me if they don't exist close enough for us to find them at this relatively early stage in our civilisation's space-related development, or at all. It would be like living in a remote part of the outback with only a bicycle to travel on. There's plenty of life out there, beyond your area, and for the space it covers it's quite common, but it's pretty obvious why you can't find it. 

Yeah, this isn't a paradox in the traditional sense, so don't worry about that exact word. It just sounds snappier than "the Fermi interesting-question-that-makes-you-go-hmmm".

Also, the human race is 500,000 years old. The earliest permanent settlements were started around 5000 years ago. There are somewhere between 50 and 200 billion sun-like stars who's age is billions of years older than ours in our galaxy alone. That translates into hundreds of millions of Earth-like Goldilocks planets, billions of years older than ours. Within that head-start measuring billions of years, or roughly 10,000x the total history of the human race, they would only need to spend a few million years to fully explore the whole of the galaxy. Four orders of magnitude smaller than this 'head start'.

The chances that they are yet to find us is... astronomically small. 

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3 hours ago, Gopi Passiflora said:

To paraphrase: the Fermi Paradox asks that if extraterrestrial life is common in the universe, why can they not be observed yet?

They are far away and not advanced enough to visit us, or are advanced enough to evade detection. Easy peasey.

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Posted (edited)

My best explanation for the Fermi Paradox is that we don't have the technology to reliably detect other civilisations, at least not yet.

But we also have to keep in mind that making an intelligent species is far more difficult than the theorists back in the mid 20th C. believed. You can just plunk a pile of rock with some moisture on it into the goldilock zone of any old G2V star. It's far more complex than that, as any Creator can tell you.

For a start, most G2V stars are far too active to satisfy even the most basic Health and Safety regulations. In fact, even a docile G2V, such as Sol, will only work if we can add a strong magnetic field to the planet to deflect some of the radiation.

Then you need to add a couple of gas giants with enough gravity to deflect and trap rouge planetoids, alien space probes and all the other garbage the void is fillled with. Being exterminated by meteors every other megaannum is a huge downer for anybody who wants to make a proper civilisation.

There's a lot more of course but you get the idea: It's not nearly as easy as it seems.

 

Edited by ChinRey
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1 hour ago, TDD123 said:

Considering the distances in the universe, that civilisation would need to find means to travel BEYOND LIGHTSPEED.

Einstein pointed out anything physical doing that requires so much energy , it' s MASS will become as heavy as the universe itself.

There' s no engine like this possible , only in the fictional part of Science Fiction.

 

You're thinking too linearly. :) While we can safely assume we can not literally exceed the speed of light, it's quite possible one could effectively do so, using worm holes, dimensional rifts, and what have you.

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20 minutes ago, kiramanell said:

And there's still the Drake equation

The Drake equation doesn't mean anything. The answer it gives is only as good as the data you put into it and much of the inputis wild guesses. As always, the GIGO (Garbage In, Grabage Out) principle applies.

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Presumably, a sufficiently advanced civilization would consider life too constraining an existence to be of interest. Also physical transportation.

As far as I know, the only way (if any) for information to be propagated faster than the speed of light uses quantum coupling of physical objects, so those objects would have to be physically separated once, and thus the speed of light still limits that initial distribution -- subject to the usual voodoo physics caveats of wormholes, etc.

Anyway, if they're advanced enough, they'll have decided we're not (yet?) worth the trouble.

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