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Hogarth judge

November 2017

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Hogarth judge

Writer's Block: Search for intelligent life

Do you believe there is other intelligent life in distant galaxies? If no, why not? If yes, do you believe this is something to be feared and avoided or actively sought out?


If it exists, we'd better be afraid. Life, more or less by definition, sustains itself by some kind of reproduction, which implies that it consumes resources. This means that intelligent life is probably a self-limiting phenomenon. Intelligence is a response to scarcity in a world of limited resources, a place where the environment must be exploited efficiently. It doesn't take much to work out a formal proof that it's inevitable that intelligent living things are going to end up at each other's throats.

That's what we know, which is why the encounter between any more technically advanced culture and another ends in exploitation and conflict. It's hard to imagine any critter whose harsh environment led its ancestors to become smart to be any different.

Fortunately, as far as we know the laws of physics are constant. Atoms split just as easy there as they do here. There's a reason for the radio silence of the universe. Intelligent life flickers for a brief moment and then flames out in smoke and ashes. This is inevitable. Let a smile be your umbrella.

Comments

Hmmmm.