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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Aug > Aug 3

Re: The Fermi Paradox

From: Michael Tarbell <mtarbell.nul>
Date: Thu, 02 Aug 2007 18:16:31 -0600
Archived: Fri, 03 Aug 2007 10:31:28 -0400
Subject: Re: The Fermi Paradox

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

Hi, a very interesting post.


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


>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.

My primary concern with the Leaky Quarantine or Leaky Embargo
hypothesis is the enforcement issue. It seems to imply a certain
technological and evolutionary 'parity' amongst the parties,
such that they all (or at least, the most advanced/powerful) are
not only able to communicate with each other, but moreover enter
into some kind of 'pact' to abide by and enforce the embargo.

The vast span of time since planetary formation began, and the
implied potential for billions+ years of disparity between ET
civilizations, raises the question of what level of control the
'cops' would realistically have. I should think that some
fraction of the pool of ET cultures would be well outside the
'jurisdiction' of any such authority, utterly unconcerned with
their 'enforcement' powers, and pretty much doing whatever they
please. Are all such cultures (and their physical traces)
imperceptible and/or incomprehensible to us? Possibly so.

>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.

I very much sympathize with this viewpoint. I expect that many,
and perhaps most, ET cultures simply have no motivation to
visit, much less colonize, the far reaches of space.
Particularly if they were fortunate enough, unlike ourselves, to
establish an equilibrium with their ecosystems.

But, as with many of these proposals, it faces Big Numbers
(potential size of the ET 'pool'). It only takes a few, or even
one, highly curious and/or 'infectious' civilization(s) to swamp
the galaxy in short order.

>Paranoid Pre-emptive Unilateral War (Berserkers)


Not as compelling, in my opinion. Relies on universality of
'triggers' (e.g., electromagnetic signals) to be effective.

>All intelligence is Self-Limiting


>technological Intelligence is self-limiting


For brevity I combine the two above. It is certainly a plausible
mechanism, and it is likely our civilization will become a
textbook example. But we came very close to interstellar travel,
and conceivably might yet pull it off. Considering the Big
Numbers involved, it is easy to imagine that a substantial
number of other civilizations managed to cross that threshhold.

>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.

I've lately been giving consideration to Intelligence Is New, see:


I'm sure I didn't originate the idea, there is a veritable zoo
of proposals out there... someone has even written a book called
Fifty Ways to Resolve the Fermi Paradox, or some such (haven't
read it, but probably should).


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