|One of my illustrations|
Either way, I thought it would be interesting to discuss the pros and cons of some of the established arguments. I'm no expert and I've not spent years researching the subject in great depth, so why do I feel the need to give my opinion? Because I thought it might be of interest to read the main issues, explained (hopefully logically) with the level of knowledge and understanding that most of us standard grunts on the ground have.
I'll deal with the main cases from 'Part 2' onward, but first let me get a couple of issues off my chest. Any person interested in UFOs or even just the possibility of extraterrestrial life, will know of the Drake Equation and the Fermi Paradox. These are oft-quoted arguments in almost any discussion of alien life, and I would like to get them out of the way before delving into anything else. They can be applied both positively and negatively to many of the arguments, so rather than repeat myself or get sidetracked, I will refer to these sections instead.
The Drake Equation
Unfortunately, the Drake Equation has become quite established and entrenched even with scientists of note, having itself been created by the respected professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Frank Drake. It has probably helped a lot of research programs like SETI (which I'll cover in 'Part 2'), by giving 'numbers' and 'statistics' that can be shown to the money-sources, convincing them to back projects in a way that they understand. On the flip side, it adds unjustified weight to a lot of arguments and discussions about alien life, often with sceptics who wish to invalidate the ideas proposed by those they are countering.
So in all, I will state that I don't believe the Drake Equation can be used as a pro or con argument either way. It just doesn't have enough weight. It sounds nice because it looks scientific and can provide numerical answers, but it is essentially meaningless.
The Fermi Paradox
I'll admit, I prefer the Fermi Paradox to the Drake Equation because in essence it is simply asking a viable question. It is not trying to pull an answer out of thin air. The problem is that sceptics and non-sceptics alike, tend to forget that it is essentially a very good question. Not an answer or proof.
For example, many a sceptic will say “There is no life out there. Just look at the Fermi Paradox! It's proof that if there was life, we would've heard about it by now.” Perhaps most sensible sceptics wouldn't put it so bluntly, but often that is the thrust of their argument when they refer to the Fermi Paradox.
Using that logic, imagine an ancient scientist or philosopher, let's call him Fred Bloggs (A British equivalent of John Doe, for those wondering). He puts together some anecdotal facts about his world, before there are any real proofs, and concludes that it is probably spherical or at least round. He has a paradox, though. When he looks around, it's all flat. He puzzles over this, but at least he's still smart enough to wonder why his world facts don't quite match up. It becomes known as the Bloggs Paradox. Meanwhile, a man who only likes to believe the established safe view that the world is flat, hears of this Paradox. Next thing you know, he's in a discussion with friends who wonder about the nature of the world. He says “Ahh, but it's the Bloggs Paradox! You can't prove in any way that the world is spherical, with all the evidence around you. So it must be flat. The Paradox proves it!”
So to repeat, what I'm trying to say is that the Fermi Paradox is simply an unanswered question regarding current knowledge that seemingly contradicts. It is not a proof of anything.
So with those out of the way, let's move on to the good stuff... Next, we shall discuss 'Signals From Beyond'
Click here for:
Part 1 - Equations and Paradoxes
Part 2 - Signals from Beyond
Part 3 - Something Small
Part 4 - Remnants and Arefacts
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