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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Aug > Aug 2

Re: The Fermi Paradox

From: Edward J O'Connell <ejayo.nul>
Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2007 11:25:05 -0400
Archived: Thu, 02 Aug 2007 18:30:58 -0400
Subject: Re: The Fermi Paradox

I have many personal solutions for the The Fermi Paradox.

I think to be scientifically honest, we have to admit, that
almost any conjecture about extraterrestrial life, intelligence,
technological capability, or motivation, is on the order of the
sexual advice given by catholic priests. Having absolutely
nothing solid to go on, we simply charge ahead and do our best
based on our own mental models of the universal drives
underlying life and intelligence. Discussions of the Fermi
paradox are about as scientific as Sigmund Freud's 'science' of
mind. Like Sigmund, we kick back in our armchairs and make stuff
up. Then wedge all of our fragmentary anomalous data into our

The UFO record suggests to me like we are under a leaky

The Brookings institute study gives us the reason; ETs have
found it to be true; contact between vastly more technologically
developed and less developed civilizations results in the
destruction of the less developed. All of the contributions we
could bring to inter-galactic civilization are negated by pre-
mature contact. We become cargo-cult dead-enders, begging the
ETs for cancer cures and fixes for global warming.

We could be a valuable vintage; if uncorked prematurely, we're
worthless grape juice.

The universe is teeming with intelligent species (as evidenced
by the great variety of craft and denizens we've glimpsed over
the years) The quarantine prevents the establishment of anything
we would recognize as open diplomatic relations or widescale
commercial exploitation. But the ETs are enough like us to
cheat. Frequently. To be corrupt and corruptible. To poach. To
prank. (crop circles sure look like pranks to me.) But they
can't do it wholesale; pull u- hauls into orbit and empty the
planet. That would trigger a response from the cops.

Unlike another recent poster, I think we would be guilty of
anthro- self-deprecation if we _didn't_ see our species as being
fascinating to extraterrestrial intelligence. Think of our own
fascination with the old west, medieval europe, and biblical
times. If ET civilizations develop anything like ours, then our
earth could very operate as vast, quasi-legal pre-space theme
park for ET species.  Or a vast natural laboratory for theories
about the development of civilization...

Arisia and Eddore

Of course we're fascinating--we are engaged in a wide variety of
completely unsustainable activities, consuming the planet at an
astonishing rate. We will either succeed in taming our most
insane impulses or go extinct in the next century. We will
either reach the singularity, or go down in flames. I suspect
that most (but not all) intelligence is self-limiting, and that
the moment where a species either creates technologies and
institutions which can ensure its survival OR blows themselves
up, would be a moment _well worthy of intense study._

If ETs represent a qualitatively higher form of intelligence,
then we might represent to them a species as fascinating as
chimps and Bonobos are to us. We may be _almost intelligent_
from their point of view. This would explain the lack of
diplomatic relations. Naturalists don't ask to be presented to
the queen termite to discuss the construction of embassies.

The only requirement for maintaining the leaky quarantine is to
make sure that there's no technology transfer (none of those
space alloys Carl Sagan demands to take ETs seriously) and no
hard preponderance of hard scientific data to make an
indisputable case for the quarantine's existence. Posing as
angels, fairies, and demons, and saying really dumb, clumsy,
silly things which would cause any thinking person to presume
the phenomena is nonsense would be a simple way of inoculating
the culture against the slips in quarantine. Once done, it would
be self-perpetuating. Create one George Adamski, and the humans
will then copy the pattern and help create a smokescreen of
easily discarded experiences.

Other explanations include:

Grown-ups Don't Play Games

Our level of intelligence is transitory, a temporary blip on the
road to super-intelliigence, and super-intelligence isn't
interested in things that we assume it would be. Filling the
physical universe with huge artifacts; colonizing every
available surface; seeking out and exploring new life, and new
civilization, creating dyson spheres, etc) As a kid, I imagined
various things I would do when I had the resources of an adult.
(They involved candy, toys, playboy magazines, and architecture)
As an adult, I can remember some of these notions, but wouldn't
act on these impulses now. Our naive notions of galactic
empires, cosmic federations of creatures pretty much like us,
may be a similar fantasy.

Paranoid Pre-emptive Unilateral War (Berserkers)

One great explanation for the silence is that the universe is
dotted with robotic planet killing installations, that await the
trigger of electromagnetic distrurbance, then dispatch robots to
dislodge and aim planet killing asteroids to wipe out
noisemakers. The first intelligent species (paranoids) capable
of producing self-replicating machinery assures themselves that
they will never be displaced by strangling any new species to
death in it's cradle.

it's easy to stamp out small infections; once they've had a dozen
generations to expand geometrically, you're doomed.

As our light cone expands, it eventually flip the trigger. May
have already happened. The asteroid could strike any week now.
By the time we could see it, chances are it would be too late.

All intelligence is Self-Limiting

This is a sad one, but logic tells me that it may be the
simplest explanation. The Jeremy Rifkin's and the Erlichs have
no problem explaining the silence. Intelligence disrupts
natural systems based on competition for resources and global
symbiotic balance, perturbing ecosystems into chaos which
disrupts civilization. The greater the 'intelligence', the
faster and more profound are the ecological disruptions. By
nature we are designed to ruthlessly destroy nature.

technological Intelligence is self-limiting As above, but we
posit that what we think of as the free-market/ military
industrial/scientific complex, is the real self-limiting
 component of intelligence--and it's also the only type of
 intelligence that could ever be space faring. Most of our
 technologies emerge out of warfare and unsustainable planetary
 exploitation. The internet is an artifact of the cold war;
computers themselves evolved out of ballistic calculators. Fast
shiny zippy gadgets are symptomatic of eventual environmental

These are my most favored explanations. I prefer quarantine, as
it allows me to live in the most potentially fun universe. On
my darker days, the others seem most likely.

Jay O'Connell

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



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