Sunday, November 9, 2008

PARADOX (OSI)




Fermi asks…if, why
paradox is the answer
Sagan is smiling






From Wikipedia: The Fermi paradox is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for, or contact with, such civilizations.

The extreme age of the universe and its vast number of stars suggest that if the Earth is typical, extraterrestrial life should be common. Discussing this proposition over lunch in 1950, the physicist Enrico Fermi questioned why, if a multitude of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations exist in the Milky Way galaxy, evidence such as spacecraft or probes are not seen. A more detailed examination of the implications of the topic began with a paper by Michael H. Hart in 1975, and it is sometimes referred to as the Fermi-Hart paradox. Another closely related question is the Great Silence—even if travel is hard, if life is common, why don't we detect their radio transmissions?

Absence of evidenced is not evidence of absence
Carl Sagan, American astronomer (1934 – 1996)

They’re not here, they’re not coming
Don Henley, from Inside Job (2000)


For more poetic interpretations of this prompt, or to participate yourself
visit One Single Impression
Photo of VLA (Socorro, New Mexico) from Shutterstock

26 comments:

SandyCarlson said...

Thank you for this, Deb. Your post makes me smile at the big questions and enjoy the responses of the giants.

bobbie said...

Yes, it makes me smile too. It seems to be the one BIG question that does make us smile rather than disturb or alarm us. I think I go with Sagan.

anthonynorth said...

Loved this!
Of course, there are answers to some of the problems - would a more advanced civilisation still use radio waves?
As well as the vastness of the galaxy, there is the vastness of time it has existed. Maybe we missed our neighbour's civilisation by a billion years or so.
Maybe WE'RE what's left?

Neal said...

Interesting. It's hard to believe with all the other planets out there that there isn't intelligent life somewhere else.

qualcosa di bello said...

when you look at the clear night sky & consider what little we truly know, this makes your words all the more profound

Lin said...

I believe there are others on planets far away and God in His wisdom didn't place us closer as we can't get along with those on our planet.

Kelly said...

All the comments are very thought provoking as is your post! It is amazing how much we really don't know! I'll be thinking about this all day, I bet...hmmm....

zoya gautam said...

Hotel California's paradox: 'You can checkout any time you like,
But you can never leave!'-Fermi 's paradox: & Carl Sagan's logic
..many thanks for a 'searching' post (& ur kind cmnt)..

Sylvia K said...

Well, I'm smiling, too. It's a greatg post and posts a great question. Who knows what lies beyond?

Beth P. said...

Dear Deb--
Don Henley is such a cynic!

Thanks for this delightful run on paradox...

fourwindshaiga said...

Well, I don't see why just this planet would have life. What if other life is here, and we don't recognize it?
What if ants colonies are "from away" as they say in Maine?? Good question.

gautami tripathy said...

You couldn't have put it better..

blank page soaked

Sue said...

the universe seems filled with paradox.

Mary said...

It does seem rather self-centered to believe that we are the only ones, doesn't it?

Thanks so much for your kind comment on my post today!

Quiet Paths said...

You picked a perfect subject for this week's prompt. Makes me think of that line from Contact: "It would be an awfully big waste of space...."

The very large array -- now that I would love to see some day. Thank you for this!

jack sender said...

now i'll write one you can just pitch.

so all of my life i have been waking to listen ( on headphones) to radio in the middle of the night. okay, so you don't and i thought everyone did.

no kidding about the quality of the oldies. 99 per cent are on the cusp between early fifties and rock. i worked in and loved radio all my life and they play a lot of stuff i never heard, but from that era. for me that is amazing.
hey, cklw was my station for rock when they did what was called the "drake schenalt" foremat. that was the heavy rock of the 60's.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

The same notion has kept the quest for Bigfoot alive and kicking ... and probably won't ever rest. But you are right: it's fun to think about, and it is mind blowing to consider the size of the universe. We are definitely not alone ... and I'm not talking Bigfoots!

Teri C said...

lol, this was great fun!

magiceye said...

maybe the ets wish to keep us destroyers away!

indicaspecies said...

Thank you for an interesting and informative post. Well done!

Indrani said...

Triggers a thought process: do the ETs really exist?

I wish there is some life somewhere, it is quite a lonely life on Earth!!! Blogging does make a difference though!! :)

tumblewords said...

Thanks for posting the explanation and the Sagan quote. I've always enjoyed these... Nice work!

Hotwire said...

i love that sagan quote!

Kathiesbirds said...

Why do we always assume other life will be exactly like us? Maybe they don't have/like/want radios! Very enlightening and puzzling post! It's a paradox!

Jaye Orr said...

Posted at 4:40 am, hmmm. couldn't sleep again?? I always want to see what photos you are posting, of course, you know why? XOXO Sis

Stacy (mama-om) said...

Thank you for visiting my blog last week. I really enjoyed this post, too, as so many others did.

Blessings,
Stacy