Mark Buchanan suggests (08 April 2011) at New Scientist that the “Aliens who hide, survive”.
Attempting to explain why, if there are really so many space aliens, none of them have ever contacted us to pick up their legacies or their mail, he offers that – as always – natural selection is the answer:
In order to explain the Fermi paradox, Kent turns to natural selection – and suggests that it may favour quiet aliens.He argues that it’s plausible that there is a competition for resources on a cosmic scale, driving an evolutionary process between alien species on different planets. Advanced species, for example, might want to exploit other planets for their own purposes.
If so, the universe would be a violent place, and evolutionary selection may favour the inconspicuous – those who lie low on purpose, or who simply lack the skill or ambition to venture forth or advertise their existence.
“This is an interesting idea,” says alien hunter Seth Shostak of the SETI institute in Mountain View, California. “If I let the cosmos know I exist, then I might be subject to extermination.”
Actuarially, Buchanan, Kent, and Shostak are all subject to extermination at some point …
File under: Why dorks, dweebs, and rural morons don’t believe in Darwinian evolution, but sophisticates do.