Thanks, that was a very clear statement. Your main point seems to be that
no one would send out a colonizing force without looking before they leave
to see whether they'll be able to successfully claim the destination star.
I find this reasonably plausible when the civilizations acting at each
possible source are monolithic entities with a cohesive point of view and a
single set of goals.
I don't expect that to be the way many civilizations turn out. I don't
expect one mind to take over our solar system, and I don't see any a priori
reason to expect that it will be true of all others. At any solar system
with a variety of competing interests, I'd expect some to want to leave.
Even if they can't tell where they'll end up or whether they'll get to
claim territory when they get there. If some can gather together enough
resources to build a self-sustaining mission, then it won't be crucial
whether they'll be able to claim a star when they get to their first
The crux of Robin's argument is that it only takes some actors believing
this way to ensure that the best, fastest colonizers dominate at all the
frontiers. If the entire universe is uniformly populated with seed
civilations, then there may not be any frontier by the time explorers leave
their own systems, but that one's hard to believe, too.
I know you're still looking for evidence that there are others out there,
but so far all we have is a lack of evidence that there will be anyone in
our way if we go exploring. That gives the first to go reason enough to
leave, and those that follow only have to believe that they'll beat the
wave in front, since there will always be reason to act as if civilization
might collapse behind you, so you'll be the last wave to leave, if you can
just get out in time.
> If the colonizers don't look then this may be right. If they do look
> and see nothing, then Robin's colony waves makes sense. If they
> cannot *prove* to themselves that they will not be stepping on some
> giant's toes, then colonization should only occur when you have taken
> your civilization to the highest possible levels because that is the
> only way you can defend yourself if you piss someone off.
> The question isn't what have we done in the past (colonized with
> little knowledge of physics and a lot of arrogance) -- it is --
> Knowing what you know might be possible, can you suggest the *wisest*
> colonization strategy for civilizations around our level?
> When I look out into the galaxy, I don't expect to see the people who
> reproduced and colonized the most -- I expect to see the smartest
--- Chris Hibbert Libertarians are to Freedom what firstname.lastname@example.org Quakers are to Peace. --John Stewart http://discuss.foresight.org/~hibbert/home.html
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