Desperately Seeking ET: Fermi’s Paradox Turns 65 (Part II)


Why is it so hard to find ET? After 50 years of searching, the SETI project has so far found nothing. In the latest development, on April 14, 2015 Penn State researchers announced that after searching through satellite data on 100,000 galaxies, they saw no evidence, such as infrared signatures, indicative of advanced technological civilizations. Such civilizations might exist, but there was certainly no clear-cut evidence in their data.

In our Part I article, we mentioned how numerous scientists over the past 65 years, since Fermi first raised the question “Where is everybody?”, have examined Fermi’s paradox and have proposed solutions. We listed a number of these proposed solutions, such as the following, with common rejoinders that have been raised against them:

  1. They are under strict orders not to disclose their existence.
  2. They exist, but are too far away.
  3. They exist, but have lost interest in interstellar communication and/or exploration.
  4. They are calling, but we do not yet recognize the signal.
  5. Civilizations like us invariably self-destruct.
  6. Earth is a unique planet with characteristics fostering a long-lived biological regime leading to intelligent life.
  7. WE ARE ALONE, at least within our home in the Milky Way galaxy.

Numerous other proposed solutions and rejoinders are given in books by Paul Davies (2011), Stephen Webb (2002) and John Gribbin (2011).

“Sociological” explanations

The problem with explanations such number one is that it just takes one small group in one distant civilization to break the pact of silence. Given our experience with human society, it is hardly credible that a “law”-forbidding contact with civilizations such as ours could be enforced over a vast and diverse interstellar society without any exceptions over millions of years. Similarly, with regards to number four, it is not credible that a global society could permanently enforce a global ban on communications, specifically targeted to nascent —> Read More