Thursday, April 28, 2005

Science Humor

From the letters to the editor at Nature, Nice planet, shame about the human race:

Inspired by Stephen Baxter's Futures story "Under martian ice" (Nature 433, 668; 2005), we began to discuss the Fermi paradox: that if aliens exist, they would have visited everywhere by now, including Earth. Careful consideration led us to conclude that if they were intelligent, they would not visit this planet.

Thus — and in opposition to the anthropic principle, which argues that the Universe is the way it is because we are here to observe it — we propose the misanthropic principle as the resolution of the puzzle.

Randall D. Kamien and Madhuri Kaul

Well put. I'm tempted to write a reply, but then I'd give up my right to wear this shirt.

Basically, I'd argue that, even though we screwed up this planet, there's a lot of cool stuff. So aliens should have come here, but tried to avoid people. That's still misanthropic, but we still ought to have seen the aliens in their travels.