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Thread: What do you think is the most likely explanation for the Fermi paradox?

  1. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    There are an unknowable number of explanations why weíve not seen ET, from they donít exist, through the zoo hypothesis, through theyíre long-gone, they have not yet shown up in our detection range, their evolution forbids space travel, and many others.
    because itís dinosaurs all the way down

  2. #182
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    The "Zoo Hypothesis" has always seemed to me, to imply a degree of coordination and cooperation that would be impractical for interstellar distances. How would you enforce such an agreement?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  3. #183
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    The "Zoo Hypothesis" has always seemed to me, to imply a degree of coordination and cooperation that would be impractical for interstellar distances. How would you enforce such an agreement?
    Perhaps there is an general understanding among the local overloads but on occasion there are a few renegade poachers who come here and do or take what they want and are not concerned with occasionally exposing themselves. No harm done, eyewitnesses to their fleeting presence aren't considered to be credible anyway.

  4. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    Perhaps there is an general understanding among the local overloads but on occasion there are a few renegade poachers who come here and do or take what they want and are not concerned with occasionally exposing themselves. No harm done, eyewitnesses to their fleeting presence aren't considered to be credible anyway.
    But how would you stop a starship? The implication is that polities can somehow place a "barrier" or "guards" that can prevent incursions. In practice, there's just too much open space and too many potential paths to patrol them all, even at relativistic speeds.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  5. #185
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    Yep, it would seem very difficult to actually quarantine a planet, so if there is a Zoo-like agreement among the locals it may just be an understanding without teeth to enforce it on those who may choose ignore it for whatever motives they may have.
    You have to admit, the Earth is probably much more interesting now than any other time in it's history, just how often does a planet's inhabitants reach this stage of development enabling them to reach into space? We may be the darling of the galaxy right now.
    Last edited by Spacedude; 2019-May-12 at 02:26 PM.

  6. #186
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    Yep, it would seem very difficult to actually quarantine a planet, so if there is a Zoo-like agreement among the locals it may just be an understanding without teeth to enforce it on those who may choose ignore it for whatever motives they may have.
    You have to admit, the Earth is probably much more interesting now than any other time in it's history, just how often does a planet's inhabitants reach this stage of development enabling them to reach into space? We may be the darling of the galaxy right now.
    Darling of the nearest 50 stars, maybe. Light lag.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  7. #187
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    Also, how could the "poachers" approach us undetected? Starships would use massive blazingly obvious amounts of energy on approach.
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  8. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    The "Zoo Hypothesis" has always seemed to me, to imply a degree of coordination and cooperation that would be impractical for interstellar distances. How would you enforce such an agreement?
    I can't see this. Some lady is always going to want to swim with the polar bears.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    ó Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  9. #189
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    There are an unknowable number of explanations why weíve not seen ET, from they donít exist, through the zoo hypothesis, through theyíre long-gone, they have not yet shown up in our detection range, their evolution forbids space travel, and many others.
    I can see that being true for one species, but as a general excuse it's too specific.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  10. #190
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    Maybe it went over my head but why would evolution end ET, or us, from progressing? Neanderthals and others were gone long ago but they were our roots and we are their vines. Our future selves will surely be different unless we somehow destroy ourselves and put a period at the end of our sentence, is that what is meant?

  11. #191
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Also, how could the "poachers" approach us undetected? Starships would use massive blazingly obvious amounts of energy on approach.
    Iím only writing this to say what someone who wants to believe in UFOs night say in response. If the physics of the universe are as we understand them (and personally I think they probably are) then youíre right, but one could argue that there might be ways of moving through physics that we donít understand that would allow you to move stealthily.


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  12. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    Maybe it went over my head but why would evolution end ET, or us, from progressing?
    Iím not sure, but I think the intention was to say that for some species, that may be true. For example, they evolve on a very massive planet or in a ocean inside an icy planet. I donít think it was intended as a general statement.


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  13. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    Maybe it went over my head but why would evolution end ET, or us, from progressing? Neanderthals and others were gone long ago but they were our roots and we are their vines. Our future selves will surely be different unless we somehow destroy ourselves and put a period at the end of our sentence, is that what is meant?
    I was interpreting it as being about sessile species or those that are particularly sensitive to radiation.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  14. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I can see that being true for one species, but as a general excuse it's too specific.
    There may be only the one other technological ET, and that’s the one that can’t leave its planet because of biology. That would pretty much eliminate any incentive for spreading.
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  15. #195
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    There may be only the one other technological ET, and that’s the one that can’t leave its planet because of biology. That would pretty much eliminate any incentive for spreading.
    And that means there's actually several intersecting causes;
    - Only one other species.
    - They're unable to leave their home planet.
    - They're unable or too primitive to alter or overcome their biological limitation.
    - They're unable or too primitive to send out Von Neumann probes.
    - They're unable or too primitive to send out radio signals detectable from here, or don't use radio.
    - They are too distant to detect directly.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  16. #196
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    One story I read had two kinds of Sapient Species in the Universe:
    A type of species with low aggression that stays primitive for millions of years till natural extinction.
    A type of species with high aggression which rapidly develops advanced technology and then always self-destructs within a couple centuries.
    SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

  17. #197
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    One story I read had two kinds of Sapient Species in the Universe:
    A type of species with low aggression that stays primitive for millions of years till natural extinction.
    A type of species with high aggression which rapidly develops advanced technology and then always self-destructs within a couple centuries.
    No middle ground? How binary.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  18. #198
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    My use of bolding for emphasis below.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1902.08035

    Introduction: Detectability of Future Earth

    Jacob Haqq-Misra (Submitted on 11 Feb 2019)

    Earth's future detectability depends upon the trajectory of our civilization over the coming centuries. Human civilization is also the only known example of an energy-intensive civilization, so our history and future trajectories provide the basis for thinking about how to find life elsewhere. This special issue of Futures features contributions that consider the future evolution of the Earth system from an astrobiological perspective, with the goal of exploring the extent to which anthropogenic influence could be detectable across interstellar distances. This collection emphasizes the connection between the unfolding future of the Anthropocene with the search for extraterrestrial civilizations. Our rate of energy consumption will characterize the extent to which our energy-intensive society exerts direct influence on climate, which in turn may limit the ultimate lifetime of our civilization. If the answer to Fermi's question is that we are alone, so that our civilization represents the only form of intelligent life in the galaxy (or even the universe), then our responsibility to survive is even greater. If we do find evidence of another civilization on a distant exoplanet, then at least we will know that our trajectory can be managed. But as long as our searches turn up empty, we must stay vigilant to keep our future secure.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    ó Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  19. #199
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    If the answer to Fermi's question is that we are alone, so that our civilization represents the only form of intelligent life in the galaxy (or even the universe), then our responsibility to survive is even greater. If we do find evidence of another civilization on a distant exoplanet, then at least we will know that our trajectory can be managed. But as long as our searches turn up empty, we must stay vigilant to keep our future secure.
    "Kid, you're on your own."
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  20. #200
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    Maybe the first ETI to arise in the MW decided to sprinkle the Galaxy with stations to detect artificial radio signals, and when they are detected it destroys the origin point, like The Killing Star https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Killing_Star
    SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

  21. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    Maybe the first ETI to arise in the MW decided to sprinkle the Galaxy with stations to detect artificial radio signals, and when they are detected it destroys the origin point, like The Killing Star https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Killing_Star
    So, basically the Berserker Hypothesis?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  22. #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    So, basically the Berserker Hypothesis?
    Also used in Greg Bear's Forge of God and its follow up, Anvil of Stars.

    Bet there are more.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Forge_of_God

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anvil_of_Stars

    The scary thing is this is one of the few theories on the Fermi Paradox that stand scrutiny.
    Last edited by kzb; 2019-May-15 at 05:11 PM.

  23. #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    The scary thing is this is one of the few theories on the Fermi Paradox that stand scrutiny.
    Au Contraire, many do. But are they testable?

    - No one at home: not testable, only falsifiable, stands scrutiny
    - Too far away: not testable, only falsifiable, stands scrutiny
    - Life common, intelligence rare: may become testable, someday, if we can get interstellar probes going or really, really verifiable remote detection of alien nonintelligent life
    - Aliens are not obvious: obviously testable if we go find them, but not otherwise
    - Aliens avoiding us: not testable unless they stop avoiding us
    - Berserkers: only way to find out is too late!
    - Star travel too difficult: testable the hard way, someday
    - Aliens waiting for us to evolve/find enlightenment/invent warp drive: wait and see
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  24. #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    So, basically the Berserker Hypothesis?
    One would think this option could indeed be testable, as a careful examination of the stars and worlds in our galaxy, even at a distance, might provide evidence that a sort of war is going on: nuclear explosions, exploding planets, etc. However, there are in theory a billion ways to destroy a civilization, and not all of them might be noticed (e.g., biological contamination).

    So far, no evidence exists that an unusual number of explosions or destroyed planets exist.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    ó Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  25. #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    So far, no evidence exists that an unusual number of explosions or destroyed planets exist.
    ...That makes me wonder what the usual number is.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  26. #206
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Au Contraire, many do. But are they testable?

    - Star travel too difficult: testable the hard way, someday
    In keeping with my comments earlier, if even interplanetary travel is too difficult for a majority of species, radio communication might be far easier. We can always slip them hints later. "Hey, have you tried putting an atom bomb under a huge brick and blasting yourself into space atop the brick?" Aliens: "Are you nuts? Wait a minute. Wow, that was awesome!"
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    ó Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  27. #207
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    ...That makes me wonder what the usual number is.
    You know, whatever doesn't look unusual.

    Okay, okay, you got me.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    ó Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  28. #208
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    We have yet to come up with absolute physical reasons why interstellar travel would be impossible to lifeforms like ourselves, so we fall back on blaming examining the technological or social limitations we currently labor under, and often extrapolate those limits into the future: It's hard, and people don't like doing hard things. The budget for a starship would never get out of committee. Generation ships would fall apart after three generations from family squabbles. Fusion engines are a pipe dream. Relativistic speed means never having to say "Hey, watch out for that...." And the list of why-we-cant's goes on.

    But we aren't in any position to judge our own efforts because we haven't made any yet, and currently can't even attempt to. Who knows what's been tried and failed how many times in the history of an intelligent, creative tool using species a mere million years older than us? Maybe they found a way or ways that we would have give up on after the first failure, or simply dismissed as implausible or impractical without trying, because of our base assumptions.

    As for interplanetary travel, we know how to do that. We just don't, for (IMO) reasons other than fearing the challenges. It's extremely hard, sure, but humans have done harder and more dangerous things successfully. It's a huge technological and engineering hurdle, but that's what R&D is for. It is a physically dangerous act, but we're a species that goes to war knowing that people will die in droves. The reasons for not going and doing are political, social, and psychological.

    So, if there were ETI much older than us anywhere within travel distance, they should have the capacity to reach us. Or maybe they came, saw nothing interesting, and went, when our Solar System was still a hot dust cloud. .


    ADDED: D'oh. See post 215, and please ignore this mess.
    Last edited by Noclevername; 2019-May-16 at 12:38 AM.
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  29. #209
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    ...Sorry, got cut off in mid-post.

    I was going somewhere with that, I really was.

    Anyway I think my point was that "it's too hard" is not a viable theory because we can already see ways that it could, given enough time, effort and resources, be done. We have no way to gauge what ETI capabilities are or were beyond the physically possible, or judge their mentality in any way, shape, or form.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  30. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    The scary thing is this is one of the few theories on the Fermi Paradox that stand scrutiny.
    Doesnít it go against the observational data. I know of one intelligent race, which has been putting out artificial radio waves since World War II, and who have been exploring space, and yet no sign of the berserkers.

    Now of course it may take them time to arrive, but the normal assumption from an absence of evidence is non-existence.


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