- Life in the universe
- The concept of structure
- Communication and interaction
- Will and intention
- Artificial vs. natural
Sure, I agree that ETIs may be dramatically different than what we can imagine and that they may exist outside of expected paradigms, but until our exoscience matures we should probably err on the side of the self-sampling assumption and figure that the ignition and evolution of life tends to follow a similar path to the one taken on Earth. Now, I'm not suggesting that we refrain from hypothesizing about radically different existence-states; I'm just saying that these sorts of extraordinary claims (like alternative intelligences spawning different quantum realities) require the requisite evidence. It's far too easy to fantasize about some kind of energy-based hive-mind living in the core of asteroids, it's another thing to prove that such a thing could come about through the laws of physics [my example, not Vaknin's].
In the article, Vaknin also posits six basic explanations to the Fermi Paradox (and the apparent failure of SETI) that are not mutually exclusive:
- That Aliens do not exist
- That the technology they use is far too advanced to be detected by us and, the flip side of this hypothesis, that the technology we use is insufficiently advanced to be noticed by them
- That we are looking for extraterrestrials at the wrong places
- That the Aliens are life forms so different to us that we fail to recognize them as sentient beings or to communicate with them
- That Aliens are trying to communicate with us but constantly fail due to a variety of hindrances, some structural and some circumstantial
- That they are avoiding us because of our misconduct (example: the alleged destruction of the environment) or because of our traits (for instance, our innate belligerence) or because of ethical considerations
Nice try, Vaknin, but the Great Silence problem is more complex than what you've laid out.