Andrei Barney

The Fermi paradox takes the entire field of astrobiology and challenges it with the most simple of questions. Well, where is everyone? With the possibly of billions of potentially habitable planets within our observable spectrum why is it that we are still alone? How have we not made contact with someone? I pose a solution, what if they have made contact.

Fermi concluded that if in fact our existence was not formed from, for lack of better phrasing, dumb luck, then there would have to be some sort of replicable formula to create life elsewhere. Our sun and our solar system are not even close to being the eldest of the galaxy. There are billions upon billions of stars in our galaxy, and we have studied them and concluded the possibility of other habitable planets such as our own is high. Based on probability alone, it would be safe to assume other suns and solar systems have passed through the same formula that we did and intelligent life may have even surpassed our own. If this is the case, then why have they not been able to find us, and we them?

After pondering this paradoxical question for several days, I came to a simple solution, what if they already have contacted us. Who is to say that more sophisticated life forms have come and gone without our even knowing. Imagine for one second life a billion years ago, perhaps single celled organisms almost so simple that their only purpose was to live and reproduce. Comparing ourselves to these life forms is almost laughable, and obviously for scientific reasons they have been studied but humanity as a whole does not take much interest in such simplistic versions of life. Now try to imagine life a billion years from now. Is there reason to think that the sophistication we have reached today will be as basic and uninteresting as single celled organisms a billion years ago? Many of the “habitable planets” we have found are orbiting suns that are billions of years older than our own. If there is life out there, why is it so outrageous to think that they are billions of years ahead of us and they already have come to our planet, or are here now, but don’t bother to communicate with us because they are so much more sophisticated than us.

It may also be a possibility that these intelligent life forms are here and are observing us but have no desire to communicate because we are at point in our existence where we are the volatile. Hyper intelligent life probably has nothing to learn from us and therefore has no need to communicate with us. At this point in time human life is in a constant struggle for power, everyone is at war and no one can get a long. There is a relatively small amount of effort being put into communicating with the outside world. If there is a formula to life, and we are at a stage that other life forms have already passed, then what is can they learn from us. What would they want to offer us if struggle is a pertinent factor in maintaining intelligent life.

As cliché as it may sound, I want to believe. I want to believe that we are not alone, that we are not an anomaly stuck in orbit. Whether extraterrestrial beings are so far superior to us that they cannot and will not bother to make communication with us, or they simply do not wish to intervene in our evolution. There is comfort in knowing that we may not be alone in the galaxy

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Replies to This Discussion

This is an interesting idea and one that I have thought a lot about as well. Your theory actually reminds me of the Prime Directive from Star Trek, where interfering with developing civilizations is prohibited (I wouldn't want to interfere with a developing civilization either). However, as much as I would like to believe that aliens have already made contact with us, I unfortunately find it very improbable that this has happened. At the same time, I may just be too pessimistic.

Personally I find your thoughts on this to be fascinating since life can become extremely complex especially with the emergence of technology.  However I like to believe in the star trek curiosity in that no matter how much we want to know we will always want to know more and so will other life forms.  Meaning that We will always want to see whats under that rock no matter how simple it is.

I much rather enjoyed reading about your solution the Fermi paradox. After reading your post, i feel like it could be possible that extra-terrestrial life has tried to contact us in the post but earth was not technologically advanced enough to decode and understand the message. Personally this is a concept i haven't given much thought to before and I found your sentiments at the end comforting. My first impression over "...beings are so far superior to us that they cannot and will not bother to make communication with us, or they simple do not with to intervene in our evolution." was that earth is like a toddler trying to get the attention of a passing adult with the adult not having any of it. 

Thank you for writing this. The name, Fermi, has been mentioned only a couple of times in class. Those couple of time were the only times I'd ever heard it. We are the only sample we know, so far, in the universe. As discussed in class, it was only recently that science became certain of "exoplanets" orbiting other stars. The number of exoplanets in the galaxy was said to be very large. Does that suggest we recently found out that Earth is an average-type of planet, and now we are right in the middle of the bell curve with a very large sample size? 

Interesting perspective Andrei! It is related to some arguments that intelligent life could visit Earth any time in its history, so perhaps they've already come and gone. You might also check out the 'cosmic zoo' hypothesis, where intelligent aliens are intentionally avoiding making contact. 


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