Beyond “Fermi’s Paradox” II: Questioning the Hart-Tipler Conjecture

The Milky Way Galaxy.   Astronomer Michael Hart, and cosmologist Frank Tipler propose that extraterrestrials would colonize every available planet.  Since they aren't here, they have proposed that extraterrestrials don't exist.  Sagan was able to imagine a broader range of possibilities.  Credit: NASA

The Milky Way Galaxy. Astronomer Michael Hart, and cosmologist Frank Tipler propose that extraterrestrials would colonize every available planet. Since they aren’t here, they have proposed that extraterrestrials don’t exist. Sagan was able to imagine a broader range of possibilities. Credit: NASA

It’s become a legend of the space age. The brilliant physicist Enrico Fermi, during a lunchtime conversation at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1950, is supposed to have posed a conundrum for proponents of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations.

If space traveling aliens exist, so the argument goes, they would spread through the galaxy, colonizing every habitable world. They should then have colonized Earth. They should be here, but because they aren’t, they must not exist.
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© Paul Patton for Universe Today, 2015. |
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