The Fermi Paradox

Via Slashdot:

A blog called Sentient Developments has a post about the Fermi Paradox, a puzzle in science that basically states that, statistically, there should be life- and advanced life- on other planets, yet, we have not run into them yet. As our technology continues to advance, this fact becomes statistically more and more significant. Or, as Ellie Arroway in Contact said, "I'll tell you one thing about the universe, though. The universe is a pretty big place. It's bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So if it's just us... seems like an awful waste of space."
As our sciences mature, and as the search for extraterrestrial intelligence continues to fail, the Great Silence becomes louder than ever. The seemingly empty cosmos is screaming out to us that something is askew.
The fact that our Galaxy appears unperturbed is hard to explain. We should be living in a Galaxy that is saturated with intelligence and highly organized. Thus, it may be assumed that intelligent life is rare, or, given our seemingly biophilic Universe, our assumptions about the general behaviour of intelligent civilizations are flawed.

A paradox is a paradox for a reason: it means there’s something wrong in our thinking.

Both CS Lewis & Ray Bradbury, in their science fiction writings, suggest that both God and life on other planets can exist, so I don't rule that out, but could the "something wrong with our thinking" be that the assumptions made exclude the possibility that this whole span of space was created by an extra-terrestrial, extra-temporal being- God- for a purpose, and we really are alone? At what point will the improbabilities get so big that scientists will be forced to consider the other alternatives to a completely natural (rather than super-natural) point of view? The blog author acknowledges one of these questions in a subsequent post.

Contact is a fascinating movie based on a book by Carl Sagan. It brings up good questions like this. I'm always interested in the way that science's study of the extremes- the extremely big cosmos and extremely small particles (atoms, string theory, etc) always point to bigger questions, with a discussion that ends up very philosophical and even theological in nature.

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