The Fermi Paradox: Too Hard to Contact?

I will now consider the hypothesis that interstellar-capable extraterrestrial civilizations are common, but that it is difficult or impossible for us to contact them or for them to contact us.

  1. Interstellar communication is too difficult.
  2. Interstellar travel is too difficult.
  3. We have not been searching long enough.
  4. We have not been searching for the right kind of evidence.
  5. We already have evidence of ET’s, but we don’t recognize it.
  6. We already have evidence of ET’s, but we are unwilling to recognize it.

I will leave off at interstellar-travel difficulty.

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The Fermi Paradox: Too Rare? IV

I have completed this list:

  1. Stars I
  2. Planets I
  3. Origin of Life I
  4. Origin of Photosynthesis II
  5. Multicellularity II
  6. Colonization of Land II
  7. Intelligence III
  8. Technology III
  9. Abstract Science III

There is an additional set of issues that I wish to discuss before I turn to other Fermi-paradox solutions.

  1. Natural Disasters
  2. Self-Destruction

So after looking at all these factors, I conclude that there are numerous possible bottlenecks that can prevent the emergence of a long-lived technological civilization, and numerous possible calamities that have been nicknamed “The Great Filter”. So rarity is very hard to rule out.

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The Fermi Paradox: Too Rare? III

In my previous post, I had discussed this list up to the colonization of land.

  1. Stars I
  2. Planets I
  3. Origin of Life I
  4. Origin of Photosynthesis II
  5. Multicellularity II
  6. Colonization of Land II
  7. Intelligence
  8. Technology
  9. Abstract Science

I will be finishing off this list.

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The Fermi Paradox: Too Rare? II

In my previous post, I had discussed this list up to the origin of life.

  1. Stars I
  2. Planets I
  3. Origin of Life I
  4. Origin of Photosynthesis
  5. Multicellularity
  6. Colonization of Land
  7. Intelligence
  8. Technology
  9. Abstract Science

Here, I’ll be doing up to colonization of land.

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The Fermi Paradox: Too Rare?

In this post, I will discuss the solution that interstellar-capable extraterrestrial civilizations are rare or nonexistent. For most of that solution, we must extrapolate from our civilization, with all the risks of extrapolating from a single example. So I must work with an emergence scenario that has several steps, and at least one of them can be a bottleneck. Here are the steps that I will discuss:

  1. Stars
  2. Planets
  3. Origin of Life
  4. Origin of Photosynthesis
  5. Multicellularity
  6. Colonization of Land
  7. Intelligence
  8. Technology
  9. Abstract Science

Since this post has grown to be rather long, I will leave off at the origin of life.

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Where are they? The Fermi Paradox

Around 1950, Italian physicist Enrico Fermi asked “Where are they?” about extraterrestrial civilizations with interstellar communications or transportation capabilities. As a result, the name “Fermi paradox” has become applied to the conundrum that there ought to be lots of such civilizations, despite our not observing any broadly-convincing evidence of them.

This conundrum has been abundantly discussed with a large number of proposed solutions. Like here:

The solutions fall into three main categories:

  1. The ET’s are rare, if not absent.
  2. The ET’s are common, but it is difficult or impossible to make contact.
  3. The ET’s are common, and they choose to hide from us and/or to not make contact with us.

In my next posts, I will explore these possibilities.

Was Pi Designed?

I don’t mean the food item, I mean the number, also known as Archimedes’s constant and the circle constant: 3.141592653589793…

In “The Artist’s Signature”, the last chapter of Carl Sagan’s novel Contact, we find that the digits of this number have a message contained in them, a message from the designer of our Universe. But such a message would only be possible if pi could have some other value. But pi has the value it does out of logical necessity, and thus could not have been designed. There are many ways to compute this number, so for illustration, I will show only one of them, 4*arctan(1):

4*(1 – 1/3 + 1/5 – 1/7 + 1/9 – 1/11 + …)

This is an infinite sum, but it has only one possible value. That can be shown because the partial sums of this sum form a “Cauchy sequence”, a sequence whose convergence can be deduced from the sequence members without using the series limit.