De omnibus dubitandum
5 Jun 2008
A recent Boston Globe article sheds some interesting light on the question of extraterrestrial life. Regardless of some flawed assumptions the author makes in the course of coming to his point, he poses a theory worth contemplating. Are we as a self-aware, sentient lifeforms an exception in the universe, or a commonplace occurrence? If life is ubiquitous, why haven’t we heard from any other advanced civilization yet? The article’s author explains this with what he calls the Great Filter – an obstacle or inevitable event that prevents the evolution of life to complete the path to advanced space-faring civilization.
Personally I think there is other intelligent life out there, and the sole reason we haven’t heard from them yet is that we’ve been listening the wrong way. Radio may seem like a logical way to propagate signals, but already we have begun radiating less and less radio signals into space as we’re switching to a digital communications network. If there are advanced extraterrestrials out there, my guess is they’re waiting for us to reach a certain threshold of technological development, one that allows us to communicate with them with compatible technologies.
Or there is a Great Filter and we’re likely doomed to go extinct. Oops.