Re: Fermi Paradox in the news

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Wed Oct 25 2000 - 12:56:48 MDT

Jason Joel Thompson writes:

> Alright, let's play a hypothetical game. Let us suppose that there was
> intelligent life on Mars. We discovered them when we were first able-- many
> years ago. Everything else is equal. Today, we look up into the cosmos--
> nothing. Just us Earthlings and Martians, staring up into the vastness of
> space.
This is much better than you cetaceans example, but it still won't
quite do, because Mars and Earth are near enough to be
crosscontaminated by ejecta. That way if both planets can support
life, and one planet kindles, the second will be very soon to follow
by infection. But that way you can at least assume that
cerebralisation is deterministic, to a fairly high degree of
certainty (well, the nucleating critters are the same).

A better comparison would be if you could get an intelligent life sign
from a nearby stellar system. Whatever biases are then present, they
are then common to our galactic neighbourhood. If the second blip
comes from another galaxy, then it simultaneously shows you that
nucleation density is about ~1 in a galaxy, and that our galaxy is not
unique (e.g. the singularity at the center is matter-starved, and
hence unusually silent). Blips from afar are preferable.
> Independent of the additional statistical information (disparate life forms
> evolving under differing conditions as an additional data set to assist in
> calculating environments under which life comes about,) explain how this
> second data point defeats the observational selection effect inherent in the
> anthropic principle.

It does not entirely eliminate the bias due to proximity, but it goes
a few step towards it (cerebralisation kinetics, would be great to
compare the two fossil records).
> Remember: no matter how small a fraction of all solar systems in our
> infinite universe develop life, we would by neccessity find that we
> (Earthlings and Martians) originate from one of the exceptional ones that
> did.
> Following me here?

Not really.

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