Comment of the Day: On Fermi’s Paradox



"I believe Fermi's paradox to be an arrogant assumption. Say "intelligent" life is rare enough that it only occurs once or twice per galaxy. Sure that makes the universe potentialy teeming with intelligent life…. But that also means that the nearest intelligent life would be millions of light years away… or if in our own galaxy, say the other side of the galaxy, 100,000 light years away.

Even if they could travel at the speed of light (which would be far more advanced that us), or send out strong enough communications as to not deteriorate into what might just look like space noise, it would take 100,000 to millions of years to reach us here. The chances of our petty century (or a little better) of being able to even detect radio signals, matching up with their brief radio history ( if ours can be used as a model ), is even far less than the possibility of intelligent life evolving in the first place! So to say we should have detected other intelligent life by now is absurd."


Editor's note: During a lunch at Los Alamos in 1950, physicist Enrico Fermi asked his colleagues working on the Manhattan Project, "Don't you ever wonder where everybody is?" Fermi argued that given the large number of stars and planetary systems in the Milky Way and their old age, life should have arose and acquired technology that would be far more advanced than ours.

"The Galaxy" in Your Inbox, Free, Daily