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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Jan > Jan 9

Re: Fermi's Paradox

From: Bruce Maccabee <brumac.nul>
Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2011 17:18:10 -0500 (EST)
Archived: Sun, 09 Jan 2011 08:00:56 -0500
Subject: Re: Fermi's Paradox

>From: Ray Dickenson <r.dickenson.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
>Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2011 15:33:40 -0000
>Subject: Fermi's Paradox

>It's said that in 1950, working at Los Alamos National
>Laboratory, the physicist Enrico Fermi was in casual
>conversation with colleagues Emil Konopinski, Edward Teller and
>Herbert York. The men were discussing UFO reports and ET
>possibilities. Then, during lunch Fermi suddenly exclaimed,
>"Where are they?" or "Where is everybody?",

>He then calculated that Earth should have been visited long ago
>and many times over.


>Since then that so-called paradox has been heavily used by
>`skepti-bunkers' as an argument against the existence of ETs or
>any intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe.

>The `strength' of that argument rest on a bit of unassailable
>logic (Fermi's), followed by several assumptions and a claim /

>IF intelligent life has arisen elsewhere, then logically -

>1) it is most likely to have arisen in many places;

>2) it is very improbable that humans were the first;

>3) it is extremely likely that some groups are tens or hundreds
>of millions of years more advanced than us.

>They then assume -

>1) that such advanced groups would have explored our galaxy;

>2) that such exploration would almost certainly mean Earth had
>been visited many times;

>3) that the `explorers' would have made themselves known to us,
>either directly or by leaving message(s) to be found by us
(because each `visit' might be at intervals of more than a
>million years);

>4) That we haven't found any such messages (officially);

>They then claim that:

>"Therefore intelligent life cannot exist elsewhere in the

Not nececessarily in the whole universe, given the immense
distances between galaxies, but at least in our galaxy.

For a more modern treatment of the paradox, see


It is interesting to note that the originally submitted version
of that article contained a list of about a dozen UFO sightings.
However, the editor removed references to all sightings except
one of the New Zealand sightings of December 31, 1978.

This sighting has been in the 'news' because of the recent
release of UFO files by the New Zealand government and because
several of these files contain discussions of this sighting.

It seems likely that the editor allowed one of these sightings
to be mentioned in the JBIS paper because that particular
sighting was discussed (in 1979 and 1980) in a refereed journal,
Applied Optics.

Still today, 32 years afterward, this particular sighting - to my
knowledge - is the only one to have been 'argued out' in a
technical journal. See the journal article herein referenced at:


Note: on this day, January 8, in 1979, I first saw the original
New Zealand film at my then-house in Maryland. That was the
start of what became a many year investigation and what was
probably the longest exchange of letters on one UFO case ever,
my correspondence with Philip J. Klass that resulted in well
over 1200 single spaced pages.

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