I have never understood the human tendency to apply whatever happens to be current in human civilization in a blanket way to all potential phenomenon. When we had mechanical clocks, people thought of human physiology in mechanistic terms. Now we have computers it’s trite to regard the brain as a complex but analogous circuit board (which is actually a terrible way to think of the brain). And when we think about potential sophisticated alien civilizations, what do we do? We assume they have the same tech we have today.

In the extremely unlikely event that any alien civilization possessing advanced technology has existed within the last 200,000 years or so (and thus would be theoretically detectable by us today, even if they died out long ago) it is vanishingly unlikely they would employ our current sorts of technology. I can’t help but think, always, of a small neolithic tribe marooned on an island, listening out for the sound of drums being carried by the breeze, hoping thereby to detect another civilization. Meanwhile, unnoticed, commercial jet aircraft are passing overhead…

The idea of any civilization obscuring the light of a sun by building a massive array of solar panels is hilariously naive for many reasons. Perhaps it’s worth an article on that topic alone.

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Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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