Space is terrifying

Lots of people could be watching you right now (and they aren't in Silicon Valley for once)

Space is terrifying

The eggheads have made a shocking discovery:

The researchers identified 1,715 stars that could have spotted Earth transits since about 5,000 years ago, which is about when civilizations began to bloom on Earth.

Whew.

It gets better (worse):

... the researchers estimated that 29 of these 75 stars may possess rocky worlds in their habitable zones.

Seven of the 2,034 stars are known hosts of exoplanets that have had or will have the chance to detect Earth just as Earth's scientists have detected them. Three of these seven exoplanetary systems — K2-65, K2-155 and K2-240 — can currently see Earth.

A key tenet of ours around this slice of the cyberspace:

You DON'T want to discover the aliens.

If they're out there, let 'em be.

Why's that? Aren't they going to be fuzzy forehead people with warp drives, just like mass pop culture drilled into your brain for the last 70 odd years?

Far be it from me to challenge what's programming your brain-waves on the TV.

But the puzzle known to normies as "Fermi's Paradox" implies strange and frankly worrying consequences.

Why's it so quiet out there?

All those nearby stars... lots of them with rocky planets in the star's habitable zone... and not a peep.

No signals. No signs of high-energy propulsion. No antimatter farms. No visits from self-replicating probes (maybe).

Earth's about four and a half billion years old.

Best guess is that the median age of planets is close to six and a half billion years with the oldest being around 9 billion.

That's a huge gap.

If Earth is a typical, unexceptional, not-special occupant of the universe, then we should expect the average age of civilizations to be much older than ours.

All modern science does assume this. It's called the Copernican principle. We are not special.

With all the stars out there...

Some of them very old...

And the likelihood that a few of these very old stars ought to have civilizations older than Earth's continents...

Where is everybody?

Maybe they're all dead. Maybe civilizations don't last that long. Maybe they're at a sleepover with Chtulhu.  

You can cook up any number of explanations.

But you mean to say that not one of them sent out self-replicating devices? Not one of them sent out a signal that we’d detect? Not one of them made a neat-o decoration out of stars?

That defies belief.

That should terrify you down to your frozen bones.

It means either that our scientific studies of the stars have gone badly wrong somewhere, somehow...

Or else we are badly mistaken about some of our key assumptions – about how common life should be, about what minds are like, about how species evolve, about intelligence and its motivations... and so on.

Maybe Earth isn't as typical as the scientists and natural philosophers assume.

Maybe there's another reason it's so quiet out there.

Maybe everybody else knows to keep their fool mouths shut.

And if somebody did turn up out there? It might be better to skip the "hello".

Instead of E.T. you might find The Thing knocking at your door.

It might not be as bad as all that. Instead of carnivorous shapeshifters in flying saucers, it might just be that everybody dies out in the cold night.

Though I'd rather have the crazy aliens I think.


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