A new study by a top Columbia University professor that was recently published in the National Academy of Sciences used Bayesian analysis to infer that the universe is likely teeming with life but intelligent life is extremely rare

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PhD in astronomy who studied exoplanets here. Honestly, all of these numbers are so sensitive to assumptions as to be practically worthless. I’m just really sick of seeing the same guesswork over and over again. Edit: The real numbers are reasonably anywhere from “practically impossible” for both to “very likely” for both. Any sort of probability analysis at this point in time relies on some major assumptions. These assumptions are often very reasonable, but they could reasonably be very wrong too.


This is the theory I’d come to deductively. The reality is, however, that the “great filter” isn’t as commonly envisioned in science fiction, as some perpetual need of societies to nuke themselves, but rather the colossal unlikeliness that life turns into intelligent, social life that wants to talk about and teach others about the universe enough to be able to develop technology. Simply (very simply) stated: 1a) Life arose almost immediately (in geological time) on the young Earth – almost as soon as it was technically possible. 1b) The molecules for life exist everywhere and planets are commonplace. **1c) Therefore, life is likely to exist in many places.** 2a) Life took more than half the age of the planet to evolve intelligence and the use of technology and this evolution took almost a dozen “forcing events” in the forms of mass extinction level ecological collapses, which wiped out MOST but not ALL of the species. 2b) If we are an example, intelligent life that develops societies seems to accelerate very rapidly (on ecological timescales) from gaining intelligence, to pursuing high technology that may be visible from other stars. 2c) The time period between developing technology that can destroy planets (nukes, etc) and the time at which a species is likely to be significantly detectable remotely is close to zero (in geological scales). 2d) Since planets are common and we have concluded that life is likely common above… Then, if intelligent, social, technological life were common we would like have seen it already, even in our galactic neighbourhood. **2e) Intelligent, technological life is therefore unlikely to be common on anywhere near the scale of simple life.**


That’s exciting, but not all that surprising (Re: teaming with life). Biologists have been amazed how different life-forms cannot only tolerate, but thrive in what we perceive to be harsh, if not inhospitable, conditions here on Earth. Take the anaerobic microbes that live near deep ocean vents, for example. That was a bit of a shocking discovery


“Teeming with life but intelligent life is extremely rare.” I am quite positive that any intelligent alien life form would reach the very same conclusion if they were to observe earth.


What percent of commenters here clicked on the article? Jeez. At least watch the author’s video (cool worlds on YT). Its mostly about novel statistical analysis. He comes right out saying we have a data point of one…..