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Fermis Paradox: Where is ET?

Scientists now think there must be technological life throughout the galaxy, some perhaps many millions of years ahead of us. They should already be here. So where are they? This dilemma
is called the Fermi Paradox. Obviously we're missing something. Here is a compilation of current theories...

Note: This compilation includes both scientific and unscientific ideas. Also, some of these hypothetical explanations overlap each other. The correct explanation could be a combination of several theories. For example, it might well be that technical civilizations are BOTH rare and short lived.

CATEGORY 1: No - or few - other civilizations currently exist

One explanation is that the human civilization is alone (or very nearly so) in the galaxy. Several theories along these lines have been proposed, explaining why intelligent life might be either very rare, or very short lived.

1. No other (or almost no other) civilizations have arisen.

The conditions needed for life (or at least complex life) to evolve are rare or even unique to Earth. Also known as the Rare Earth hypothesis.

2. It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself

Technological civilizations usually destroy themselves before or shortly after developing radio or spaceflight technology. This theory does not require the civilization to entirely self-destruct, only to become non-technological again.

3. It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy others

Intelligent species beyond a certain point of technological capability will destroy other intelligence as it appears, viewing their expansion as a threat or a kind of plague. Of course, the first civlization to arise would not have faced this problem (and that could theoretically be ours).

4. Life is periodically destroyed by naturally occurring events

On Earth, there have been numerous major extinction events that destroyed the majority of complex species alive at the time. They can be caused by events such as impacts from large meteorites, massive volcano eruptions, and cosmic gamma ray bursts. The extinction of the dinosaurs is the best known example.

5. Human beings were created alone

This is the well-known but unscientific argument which dominated many religious beliefs for thousands of years: that the universe was designed for the express purpose of creating humans, and that it was created by another, much more advanced intelligence existing before us; for example a god, a cosmic energy or an alien power of some sort. (cont)





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