Sunday, December 09, 2007

The problem with 99.9 % of so-called 'solutions' to the Fermi Paradox (George Dvorsky)

We need to take determinism more seriously. The Universe we observe is based on a fixed set of principles -- principles that necessarily invoke cosmological determinism and in all likelihood sociological uniformitarianism. In other words, the laws of the Universe are moulding us on account of selectional pressures beyond our control.

Civilizations that don't conform to adaptive states will simply go extinct. The trouble is, we have no say in what these adaptive states might be like; we are in the business of conforming such that we continue to survive.


Dvorksy asks readers to imagine what a post-Singularity intelligence might be like based on Nick Bostrom's thesis that radically advanced civilizations likely tend to resemble one another. There's certainly room for argument, but it's a good thought experiment. Does cosmological determinism preclude adaptive states compatible with the hypothesis that we're being visited right now? I certainly see no reason why it should. And that's the gist of my own disillusionment with the Fermi Paradox. Cosmological pundits (among them a small but growing chorus of Singularitarians) are capable of addressing the FP with a great deal of intellectual finesse, but their uniform dismissal of serious UFO research leaves their arguments necessarily hollow.

True, the burden of proof rests on the shoulders of UFO-ETI proponents, but I'd argue that the evidential burden of "proving" that UFOs represent a form of extraterrestrial intelligence has been artificially imposed by decades of ignorance and fashionable disdain for any phenomenon that challenges the human psyche's central role in the cosmic scheme. We seem comfortable enough dethroning ourselves from the universe's spatial center, yet attempts to reframe human consciousness -- arguably a deeper enigma than ETI itself -- are typically ridiculed or overlooked.

3 comments:

Elan said...

“We seem comfortable enough dethroning ourselves from the universe's spatial center, yet attempts to reframe human consciousness -- arguably a deeper enigma than ETI itself -- are typically ridiculed or overlooked.”

Well said, Mac.
After much hand-wringing and tumult, we grudgingly accepted the Copernican revolution that dethroned heliocentrism; but we have yet to take the Copernican revolution beyond the gates of the Garden of Eden, which are not spatial, but existential.
Where we are, geographically, is not the frame of the surrealist painting that makes up our life in space-time.

Chris said...

"We need to take determinism more seriously"

You can't help but be impressed when someone proposes a complete reversal of our contemporary understanding of how social evolution works in order to rescue their pet cosmologies.

dad2059 said...

It's hard not to relate in an anthrocentric view-point, it's the only one we have experience with.

But I agree that an "outside of the box" consiousness paradigm is needed.

Maybe that won't happen until we experience a technological singularity. If one occurs at all.