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The Great Filter, Branching Histories and Unlikely David J. Aldous

Summary: The Great Filter, Branching Histories and Unlikely
David J. Aldous
University of California
Department of Statistics
367 Evans Hall # 3860
Berkeley CA 94720-3860
December 17, 2010
The Great Filter refers to a highly speculative theory that implicitly
claims one can test, via a probability model, whether known aspects
of the history of life on Earth are consistent with the hypothesis that
emergence of intelligent life was very unlikely. We describe the theory
and some of the many objections to it. We give a mathematical argu-
ment to show that one objection, namely that it considers only a single
possible linear history rather than multitudinous branching potential
pathways to intelligence, has no force.
Key words, Great filter, Drake equation, Fermi paradox, order statistics,
rare events, conditioning paradox.


Source: Aldous, David J. - Department of Statistics, University of California at Berkeley


Collections: Mathematics