The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"The Great Filter" Currently Working Overtime???

Over the last few days, I've heard about "the great filter" hypothesis some in the scientific community have put forward to explain why we haven't run across intelligent alien life throughout the galaxy and universe just yet. The idea, as I understand it, is that some force at work denies intelligent life to the stars. Every single intelligent race on any world anywhere runs up against "the great filter" and dies out in some catastrophe or other. Given how many potential catastrophes there are, this seems to make sense.

Then there is all that is currently going on in the news at home and abroad. Wars and civil wars, bloodshed and violence for "reasons" that make no sense at all. Our total disregard for the fragility of this natural world of ours. Just because it is far bigger than us doesn't make it immune to our degradation. Perhaps "the great filter" is currently working overtime on us?

Another article posits that perhaps we have already cleared all the evil "great filter's" challenges and the galaxy is ours. We are home free.

All this from not finding life elsewhere yet. Well, I remember when a lot of scientists felt that our solar system was a universal freak show because we had yet to find a single planet outside our own solar system. Turns out we just didn't have the right technology and techniques just yet. I imagine the same will be true of life elsewhere.

Frankly, I prefer another scientist's cheeky idea that what will lay us low is the "stupid." That our stupid mistakes will drive us into extinction. That seems to gel nicely with what I'm seeing in the news. I hope I'm wrong.

Here's my final word on "the great filter." This strange, unrelenting, universal mechanism sounds an awful lot like the vengeful, capricious, very human gods and goddesses of mythology of old. Falling back onto familiar ground are we, scientists?

Then again, this also sounds like the old 1970s excuse Flip Wilson popularized with Geraldine: "The devil made me do it."

My guess is, given another generation or so and some new technology, we'll find other life out there in this sprawling galaxy of ours. If it's intelligent, we may also get our feelings hurt when we find out exactly how much attention that life has not been paying to us and why. 

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