May. 19th, 2008

heron61: (Space)
Charles Stross wrote an interesting short essay on why the Fermi paradox may be completely illusory. I agree with his analysis, in large part because it makes absolutely no sense to me that humans are the only intelligent technological species in the galaxy, and like Stross, I find the argument that if other older civilizations existed at least one would have already colonized the galaxy to reveal vastly more about the beliefs and prejudices of the person holding them that opinion than any actual truths.

In any case, Stross's essay also has several fascinating links. astronomer Milan M. Cirkovic's article Against the Empire is an interesting discussion of why highly advanced expansionist civilizations may well be vanishingly rare or non-existent and since only highly advanced civilizations have a hope of accomplishing interstellar travel, the fact that the galaxy has not already been colonized by one or more civilizations likely means absolutely nothing about existence of such civilizations.

However, from my PoV, the true gem of the links was the essay by futurist John Smart Answering the Fermi Paradox (which builds on the theories of astronomer Lee Smolin, discussed in his excellent work The Life of the Cosmos, and even more so, the link in that essay to Smart's earlier essay, Intro to the Developmental Singularity Hypothesis.

Calling either of these works science is stretching that term well beyond all usefulness, they are a mixture of thought experiments and statements of belief. However, what impresses me about them, and especially about the second piece is that it so closely sums up my own beliefs about intelligence, complexity, and the inner workings of the universe. Something remarkably close to the developmental singularity hypothesis is one of the core tenets of my highly idiosyncratic personal spirituality.

Seeing what amounts to a description of the core of my spiritual beliefs detailed and analyzed in this fashion was truly fascinating, especially when the various implications of the idea are explored. It will likely eventually be possible to test the Developmental Singularity Hypothesis, and (unsurprisingly) I believe it will be proven correct. However, for now it is merely a statement of belief, and but it is one that I fervently share.

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