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Surprising Science

The Laws of Probability Tell Us That the Universe Should Be Teeming With Intelligent Life Forms

When we look for signals from alien life in outer space, we see nothing and all seems to be quiet. The laws of probability tell us that the Universe should be teaming with intelligent life forms, some possibly even more intelligent than us. One theory says that there were many Type 0 civilizations out there, but the savagery of their rise from the swamp kept with them all the sectarian fundamentalist nonsense of the forest and that’s why they self-destructed before they attained Type 1 status.

So we think that the birth of Type 1 is going to be quite convulsive and may take place in the next 100 years or so. This particular era is in fact the most important 100 years in all of human history because it’s going to determine if we can make that transition to a Type 1 civilization or a planetary civilization. Does this keep me up at night? Well, when I go home and relax and think about outer space and exactly where it is that we are headed during this transition, I cannot live in an ivory tower. I realize that there really are threats to our advance to a Type 1; there are people in the world who would actively want us to go back 1,000 years into the past.

So I realize that this is a crucial time where it could tip either way. Our age could either lead to a paradise—the Age of Aquarius for a Type 1 civilization—or the havoc of going back 1,000 years to religious sectarian orthodoxy.

If we do survive the transition to a planetary civilization and go into outer space and see other star systems, perhaps we will see planets whose atmospheres are too hot (showing that they experienced a greenhouse effect) or whose atmospheres are radioactive (showing the effects of a nuclear war).

Perhaps this is why we do not see them with our telescopes and instruments.


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