There are two significant problems with Fermi’s paradox, which again shouldn’t require a rocket scientist to figure out. . . . The most obvious problem with the paradox is that it simply assumes, without justification, all too familiar human psychological attributes (particularly, a penchant for exploration and/or conquest) and projects them on other life forms of which we know absolutely nothing. This is the by now familiar principle of mediocrity, but on steroids! Perhaps the simplest explanation for Fermi’s paradox is that other civilizations just don’t behave like Spanish conquistadores. . . . The second problem with the Fermi paradox, it seems to me, is that it is not exactly logically tight. Let us assume for the sake of argument that there is, in fact, another technological civilization out there, at about the same stage of development as ours (by the way, whoever decided that civilizations have to go through stages similar in any way to our own history?). Now imagine that somewhere on the mother planet of that civilization, a well-known physicist named Henry Stop is having a nice lunch with colleagues, and they are casually discussing the possibility of the existence of other civilizations just like theirs. Henry listens to his optimistic colleagues, who think that the galaxy teems with intelligent life, and quips: “Then where is everybody?” Henry Stop has just “demonstrated” that we on Earth do not exist. Now, that is what I call a paradox.
(Quoted from page 40 of Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk, by Massimo Pigliucci. University of Chicago Press, 2010.)
For the reasons of Fermi’s paradox, click here.
For a brief biography of Massimo Pigliucci, click here. For images of or relating to Massimo Pigliucci, click here.