Neil deGrasse Tyson: Aliens Haven't Contacted Us Because We're Stupid
"Cosmos" presenter and astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson has many issues with our search for alien intelligence.
First, he laments our hubris for even having a schema for what "intelligent" life would look like. "The audacity of us to even claim we can define intelligence," he said on MSNBC.
Then, he relates his fear that the opportunity to make contact with extraterrestrial life has come and gone: "My great fear is that we've in fact been visited by intelligent aliens, but they chose not to make contact, on the conclusion that there's no sign of intelligent life on Earth."
He postulates that there may very well be alien life that is much more advanced than humans, and they have found a means of communication that is more technologically advanced than we can even imagine, let alone detect. As SETI recently told Congress, one of the areas of interest in the search for extraterrestrial life is detecting signs of intelligent communication such as radio waves. But if there are aliens that have advanced beyond our technology, or that simply evolved differently technologically without necessarily being more or less advanced, then we would be operating under erroneous assumptions.
He also explains one of the variables of the Drake equation, which is simply an equation to roughly calculate the likelihood of finding intelligent life. This variable, according to Tyson, takes into account that many other planets may have had intelligent life at some point in their evolution, but at a different time than Earth. Even if they followed exactly the same trajectory as Earth, he says, they would have had intelligent life at different times than Earth because the planets weren't born at the same time.