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Perhaps We Are Surrounded By Intelligent Life

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Posted by Clerk on June 9, 2004 17:08:10 UTC


I once heard a lecture at NYU given by Phillip Morrison of MIT, [and this was 20 years ago, so times may have changed,] that using all the best probabilities for the existence of planets in the galaxy, our Milky Way, that could support intelligent life; that if the intelligent life were to last more than 10,000 years, we should have detected it by now.

Rather convoluted sentence. The calculation allows for information travelling at the speed of light.

Now if all that is true, there are two possibilities according to Morrison. Either intelligent life cannot last more than 10,000 years or intellighence is developing concurrently, more or less, over the whole galaxy.

The later option is ruled out as evolution should proceed more quickly on planets near the center of the galaxy where ionizinbg radiation is higher, and many such planetary systems may have billions of years head starts.

So Morrison concludes that intelligent systems are inherently self-destructive. But I have another alternative, one that I was too cowardly to raise in that big audience.

Another alternative is that intelligent life inherently evolves to a higher level where physical means of communication such as TV is unnecessary. Most of us would consider this to be a spiritual evolution. What do you think?


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