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GREETINGS BIPEDS! It is I the Great Namazu. I've been following the work of Johnas and the other writers working on SPACE AS AN OCEAN, Particularly the WHERE'S YODA series of essays. "Yoda", is a reference to a diminutive character of great wisdom, but exceedingly height challenged in the STAR WARS series of films. He is the euphemism for extraterrestrial intelligent life for Johnas et al. The bipeds have been pretty insightful, for bipeds, on the issue of non human intelligent life in the universe. They have mixed and matched the numbers and various theories neatly explaining several possibilities for why we see so many stars, and now know that many have planets circling them, and yet; bipeds think they are alone, or at least wonder where is everybody. The latest theory to emerge from the Johnas led workshop of theories of the universe..."YODA MIGHT BE DEAD".
Image NASA We looked Yoda wasn't out here.....
That is a heavy thought man, and not outside the realm of possibilities. Unfortunately, bipeds are all too attracted to the simple explanations in a very complex universe or universes as the case may well be. Exceptions to such over simplified thinking on the question of other intelligence in the universe include certain physicists such as Benoit Mandlebrot and an Italian guy named Enrico Fermi. The explanation called the FERMI PARADOX along with the voluminous commentary it has generated since first articulated is probably the best explanation of all to date. Basically the commentary over the Fermi Paradox boils down to this: Yes there is plenty of evidence that intelligent non human life should exist in the universe but as yet no visible sign of any. Why? Where is everybody? Probably filtered out before reaching a civilization capable of extra solar system space travel. Good news or bad news for us? Well, we may be part of the favored by the filter group, or our most serious filtration test may still be ahead.
The New NASA design Mars Mission Space Suite. Yoda doesn't appear to be there either.
Here is what Fermi said about the possibilities of extraterrestrial intelligent life according to Wikipedia:
"The Fermi paradox or Fermi's paradox, named after Enrico Fermi, is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations, such as in the Drake equation, and the lack of evidence for such civilizations. The basic points of the argument, made by physicists Enrico Fermi (1901–1954) and Michael H. Hart (born 1932), are:
- The Sun is a normal star and is in many respects typical, and there are billions of stars in the galaxy, including many billions of years older than Earth.
- With high probability, some of these stars will have Earth-like planets, and if the Earth is typical, some might develop intelligent life.
- Some of these civilizations might develop interstellar travel, a step the Earth is investigating now.
- Even at the slow pace of currently envisioned interstellar travel, the Milky Way galaxy could be completely traversed in about a million years.
According to this line of thinking, the Earth should have already been visited by extraterrestrial aliens. In an informal conversation, Fermi noted no convincing evidence of this, nor any signs of alien intelligence anywhere in the observable universe, leading him to ask, "Where is everybody?" There have been many attempts to explain the Fermi paradox." quoted from Wikipedia
In an nut shell, Fermi's paradox is an observed conflict between scale and probability. The sheer scale of the universe drives the mathematical probability favoring intelligent life being rather common in the universe and yet there is a total lack of evidence of intelligent life having ever arisen anywhere other than on this big blue marble. Perhaps the best answer to the Fermi Paradox is the "GREAT FILTER". The 'Great Filter" theory holds that at some point between the earliest life forms and the highest possible individual and societal intelligence development we can imagine there is a wall that nearly all life hits. Few if any have ever passed beyond this stage that we call the "Great Filter".
The great filter may simply be a race against time. Planets are dangerous places, they are hit by highly destructive stuff like comets. Some of these events wipe out all life. Planets in the middle of a galaxy are in an especially dangerous place, far more violent than our quiet out of the way radial arm. Obviously if intelligent life doesn't evolve and reach a level of technological development sufficient for mass movement of a significant portion of a population through inter stellar space, life can simply run out of time and be extinguished with the rest of the planet. Here on earth we are getting close to that level of development but are probably still a hundred or more years away. If we get hit by a mega event before we reach that level of development we're gone.
Astronomers and astrophysicists don't fully agree on their estimate of billions of sun like Stars in the visible universe may be orbited by earth like planets. The highest range is about 50%, a more conservative figure is 22%. The 22% comes from a recent study that suggests a potentially earth like planet circles at least 1% of the total stars in the
visible universe, bringing the estimate to a whopping 100 billion Earth-like planets. So where is everybody?
FILTERED! Well,maybe not all. Quite possibly there are no signs visible to us of higher space faring civilizations, or even of planet bound civilizations broadcasting within the radio spectrum because we are the only one. The other candidates for galaxy traversing intelligent civilizations have either been filtered, out or have not yet reached the filter. But here is a less than cheerful thought. We do not know that we have passed the filter yet.
We are still probably more than one hundred years away from space flight beyond our solar system. There is ample evidence that we still haven't learned to share the planet sufficiently and could well self destruct before then and descend into some type of dark age. On the other hand if we have already passed the great filter, some Fermi theorists feel we are rare, with perhaps only one other species in our galaxy also passing the filter.
Then there is the possibility that the galaxy has been colonized, but we just live in some desolate back water area of the galaxy. In fact we do inhabit a rather quiet outlying radial arm, and not the center of the galaxy.
That means we haven't reached the filter yet, but when we do there is no possibility of passing through, the filter is a wielded instrument.
And of course there is always the distinct possibility that we have it all wrong and the universe doesn't work anything like we think it does. So far we have failed to unify the theories of general and special relativity, and the theory of quantum mechanics into the single unified theory of everything (TOE) that would explain all. We really don't understand as a species or civilization why things on the macro level behave one way and things on the subatomic level behave quite contrary. Where is everybody?....Maybe it just boils down to that we don't know Jack
Thank you bipeds for lending me your ears.
Namazu, the Earth Shaker