Fermi's Paradox and The Great Filter Wish You a Happy Holiday Season

This year I'm not going to get so upset over the rampant materialism and consumerism (and the resulting environmental disaster) caused by the holiday season, and one of the things that's helping me cope is Fermi's Paradox and its evil twin, The Great Filter: when several physicists were discussing the high probability of extra-terrestrial life (based on the vast number of stars like our sun and planets that could support life) then Enrico Fermi ended the discussion with the question "Where is everybody?" and one possibility is that there are Great Filters which are very, very difficult to pass through on the road from inert matter to intelligent life . . . and one of these "Great Filters" might be the technological ability to destroy the very planet on which you live, and we've reached that capability, and we seem to be fairly intent on activating this Great Filter (for more on this, listen to Dan Carlin's podcast Blueprint for Armageddon II) and so I'm not going to worry about the earth any longer-- I'm going to live it up, because apparently every other intelligent civilization in the galaxy destroyed itself before figuring out interstellar travel, so why should I expect anything more from humans?


zman said...

I bet there's a way to add the Guns Germs and Steel Theorem to form a troika of logic but I'm too stupid to do it. I would note, however, that interstellar travel might require having a ton of people sitting around doing nothing but thinking about all the complicated stuff involved to make that happen, and supporting them and the other people who build the stuff they need/design requires a lot of inputs, and making those inputs on a large efficient scale with a limited number of people might require so much noxious output that it necessarily destroys the planet upon which all this happens?

Dave said...

sounds like our military/defense system-- and any new weapon technology "migrates" the way things did in "guns, germs, and steel," destroying cultures that don't adopt them and bankrupting cultures that do . . . but i'm not going to worry about it: i want a tube amplifier!

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