B.W. Wojciechowski, July 2021
Before you read the following, it will be worthwhile to read two earlier essays.
1. UFOs as I See Them. (on Medium and my Facebook wall)
2. Are We Alone? (on Medium and my Facebook wall)
In earlier essays I argued that intelligent life which has spontaneously risen is not likely to appear very often in our Galaxy. But much time has passed since the universe was formed: what is the likelihood of the presence of much earlier civilizations. Let us attempt a calculation, with many guesses, which the reader can alter according to his/her convictions.
Let us say the Universe is 14 billion years old (I know, the number currently accepted is 13.8 billion). Let us also say that it took 4 billion years for the emerging universe to stabilize enough for stars to acquire planets that have the necessary requirements to harbor life. According to the history of our own emergence it would take 4 more billion years for the earliest civilization with capabilities comparable to ours to arise. At that time the universe would be 8 billion years old.
Sometime later the first emergent civilization may have achieved space travel and more. This would only take another million years or less, judging by the progress we are making. However, I believe that the emergence of such civilizations would have been rare, as it is now. Moreover, the possibility of a misfortune at any time during their emergence and existence, and the consequent extinction of a burgeoning civilization is real and some, perhaps most, would become extinct even after reaching high levels of development. Civilizations from these early times are not likely to have survived intact, though there is a finite probability that some have.
On the other hand, the time between 8 billion and the current 14 billion years of our universe is sufficient for many civilizations to have risen and some of the more recent ones may survive to this day. I would say that the probability is high that at least one earlier civilization exists at present. What such a civilization may believe, and look like, is an open question. What is sure is that its technology will be far, far more advanced than ours.
Almost certainly the civilizations that arise spontaneously involve organic creatures as the initial step. But this may not last. There is reason to believe that as their technology evolves, they will create inorganic beings which will deserve to be accepted as civilized entities on their own. It is also possible that the inorganics will outlast the organics, the creators who gave them “life.” This means that we may well have inorganic and organic civilizations populating our universe and perhaps the inorganics are more durable and thus more common.
Our first inclination is to wonder: have any aliens found us? Despite the vastness of our galaxy an advanced civilization, given enough time, would have the means of identifying all planets that can harbor organic life. We are doing this now but in an admittedly limited and primitive way. The aliens would be much more advanced and more thorough. We can therefore reasonably ask; how long and how many of them have known of our planet and its possibilities?
The answer is; if very advanced civilizations exist, they have been aware of our planet’s evolution for a long, long time. Have they been passive with respect of what was and is going on? Perhaps not. If not, how would they chose to interfere? They may have used their influence to further their moral or political goals for our future. In earlier blogs I pointed out that advanced technology can alter probabilities of events without disobeying the possibilities that limit the events that can arise.
I believe this will also apply to events the aliens may want to make more probable. Changing probabilities requires energy, something the aliens will have plenty of. What can they do with it? Pretty well whatever probability they want to change using energy and sufficiently advanced technology can be changed. They could build the 747 I used as an example in earlier discussion, but that would be trivial to a more advanced civilization.
What all this leads to is the Deus ex Machina view of alien capabilities. In other words, pretty much anything we can imagine, and more, is doable for them except for things that go outside the bounds of the 26 universal parameters which circumscribe all possibilities as we understand them.
For example: they may have steered our evolution by favoring homo sapiens as the preferred species and acing so that the earlier hominids became extinct. Else how come these other species arose (from a common root?) but disappeared while we are still here? Many other species of animals, including a variety of apes, not only survive for long periods but generate new variants as time goes on. In our case there was a variety of “prototypes” of hominids which we (presumably we) drove to extinction while not proliferating newer species ourselves, so far.
Much of what I say about the aliens can explain the probabilistic surprises that led to our survival and civilization. The aliens, or some greater power, may have improved the chances of our emergence and survival. But what this discussion does not answer, and what could not have been manipulated by advanced aliens are the 26 universal parameters which are precisely what is required for our, and their existence. What brought this about? The aliens were not here. Is it purely a highly unlikely happenance or is there a primordial Creator who carefully set up all of this?