Dissolving the Fermi Paradox? Guess Again

A lot of sensational headlines are claiming there is no intelligent alien life in our observable universe based on a not-yet-peer-reviewed study that turns out to he based on… historical estimates and guesswork.



A new study by Anders Sandberg, Eric Drexler and Toby Ord at the Future of Humanity Institute (Oxford) suggests that we are probably alone in the observable universe.

The study, entitled “Dissolving the Fermi Paradox,” was published on June 6 on Arxiv, a server for sharing science papers that have yet to be peer-reviewed. That is an important point that seems to get a pass in the flurry of sensational headlines that followed its publication.

“Our main result is to show that proper treatment of scientific uncertainties dissolves the Fermi paradox by showing that it is not at all unlikely… for us to be alone in the Milky Way, or in the observable universe.”

OK, how did they determine this? Well, in their methodology, they state:

“In this paper, we shall look at two different ways of extending this approach beyond a toy model — generating probability distributions…

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