Is 'Zoo Hypothesis' Mainstream?

Not today, but if they’re 10,000 light-years away, if we DO become dangerous, they’d get no sign of it until it was too late. When you detect radio waves, they’ve been broadcasting for 10,000 years. That’s the length of our entire history as a sedentary species.

Much safer to wipe them out long before you hear the radio if you plan on wiping them out at all.

Give us 10,000 years. I’m sure we could build out own solar space laser in far less than that, if we were properly motivated.

That’s the whole point here, with the distances involved, by the time you see them attacking you, you are thousands if not tens of thousands of years too late to do anything about it. So, it would pay to be proactive, and eliminate threats before it’s too late to do so.

You see any neanderthals around here?

Not in nearly the same context that you are using it.

Once again, what exactly is it that you are are arguing here? Please answer this, as it is starting to seem as though you are just disagreeing for the sole purpose of being disagreeable. If that’s the case, then I don’t see any purpose to continue to involve you in this discussion.

Can you please explain what it is that you are arguing here?

You seem to be arguing just for the sake of arguing. Unless you bring up some arguments that show you do think there is a xenophobic super advanced civilization destroying all 02 planets, then I dont know what or why or how you are arguing.

Do you believe that? Since you seem to be arguing against yourself.

Us: “A xenocidal super-civilization doesn’t make sense based on what we have observed”

You: “A xenocidal super-civilization is a ridiculous idea and I can’t believe you two would argue for its existence!”

I’m done here.

I take it that you just jumped into the middle of the thread, and didn’t bother to see the context or the discussion that had been made before you came in and started telling us that we were wrong.

I mean, things were pretty interesting and congenial, playing with different scenarios and possibilities before you came in and started declaring that you were the only one with the right answer.

For the record, I am claiming that xenophobic alien civs probably do not exist, and our continued existence is proof of that. The argument that you seem to be making is that there are logical or technological reasons why they cannot exist, and you have done nothing to back your position, other than to make the unsubstantiated claim that everyone else is wrong.

The possibility that this exchange turns productive or interesting is slightly less than being wiped out by a space laser in the next 5 minutes.

Modnote: I’m going to bounce this up to the modloop but it appears DrDeth is trolling this thread. That will be a one day suspension pending a review of his posting privileges. He does this to far too many threads and far too many GD thread especially.

He can think over reading a thread before coming in blazing with derailing posts. I’m going to suggest a one week suspension. We’ll see what happens.

Anyway, I guess the question becomes, should we become these genocidal aliens that wipe out any hint of life that may arise to challenge us? After all, as we determined, if we wait too long, it may be too late.

An interesting question. I suggest there’s not a real reason to make the decision until we have the means to implement the decision.

Right now we have the tech to almost wreck a small asteroid nearby as long as it’s in a convenient orbit. We don’t have a ready-to-fire system today, but we do have the ability to build one. All we ve need is the will ze vill to do so!

Whacking a planet at interstellar range is as far beyond our grasp today as spaceflight was to the ancient Egyptians. Maybe even 10 or 100x farther than that.

A mild approach to the precautionary principle would suggest we knock off risky shit like METI. And think twice about how our few highly coherent emitters may signal our presence and what we could do to make them less conspicuous.

Which hiding-lite may be the thing that buys us the extra millenia to perfect our own planet-killers.

Quite aside from any ethical considerations, it doesn’t make sense strategically.
Destroying a harmless “slimeball world” could be the thing that attracts the attention of a big fish civilization. It could put us at risk a heck of a lot sooner than the slimeball would have.

Here’s the original paper, from 1973, by John Ball
The Zoo Hypothesis

Note that one of Ball’s premises is that advanced civilisations can fall into three categories; one that decline quickly, ones that stagnate and do not continue to develop and innovate, and those which continue to develop and become more sophisticated. If there are examples of the third type nearby, they may have decided to declare our planet a ‘wildlife sanctuary’ where we can develop in peace.

Brin (1983) lists a number of variations on this hypothesis; Kuiper &Morris suggested that the aliens might allow the Earth simply to ‘lie fallow’, in order to see what emerges from our ongoing evolution; other variations include a quarantine, perhaps because we are dangerous or not yet sufficiently advanced. Brin also lists the ‘crackpot’ idea that there is already contact between ETs and Earth; his words, not mine.
One problem with this hypothesis is that these super-advanced, ancient aliens also appear to have the ability to remain invisible, despite their super-advanced technology; we haven’t seen any bizarre alien infrastructure or giant artworks filling the sky yet, so they are surprisingly and consistently discrete, all across the Galaxy (and have been for at least 100,000 years in the past, since that is the light-travel-time from the distant reaches of the Milky Way).

Perhaps all advanced civilisations find a way to pursue their hobbies in a perfectly discreet way, that can’t be detected by our instruments (yet); they might show us how to do it, one day, or let us find out for ourselves. But whatever it is, it needs to be more attractive than building visible castles in space, so attractive that the entire population of the galaxy outside of Earth follows this discreet and quiet lifestyle consistently across vast swathes of time and space.

This, precisely. If you cannot completely hide your existence from potential advanced civilizations - and we have established that you cannot unless you happen to be first on the scene (but it’s very doubtful that the first galactic civilization on the scene would KNOW that they are first) - then acting aggressively is exactly how you’d paint a target on your own back.

I would say no. As has been said, that might be exactly the test, and we fail.

Better to show we’re planning on being good Galactic citizens. Uplifting some dolphins might be a good start (Brin has already been cited :slight_smile: )…

Also, if you do become the xenocidal aliens, a coalition of survivors from various species might team up to xenocide you right back.

Acting aggressively or boldly exploring equally so. If you believe there are others then trying to stay below the radar building defensive capabilities is the wisest choice.

Acting aggressively, yes, boldly exploring, I would still say no.

Let’s say there’s a species that’s broadcasting greeting messages, and boldly trekking around the galaxy. Call them X.
Now, some species might not like that; they might consider X a possible threat.
But attacking is risky.

A species weaker than X, should of course be reluctant to preemptively start a war which could be the very thing that would wipe them out.

A species much stronger than X, but still afraid of potentially yet stronger species, would feel that wiping out X would be wiping out something that’s not a threat right now and potentially drawing the attention of species that are. Furthermore, since X boldly explores the galaxy, they may well have been noticed by many species, plus you’ve got to blow up more colonies, ships etc to exterminate them, and so the risk factor of attacking a trekking species is much larger than attacking a hermit species.

Then, we come to the case of a hypothetical species that considers themselves the most advanced, and yet still wants to trample out other sentient species. This species has no reason to passively wait for sentient species to make themselves known; they can install probes around every star system.

The only case where a preemptive attack might be justified (under this logic) is if a species is at a comparable level of technology as X, but feel X is advancing quicker than they are. But this is an extremely improbable scenario given the age of the galaxy.
And the point about it attracting the attention of bigger species, loudly announcing themselves as an aggressor species still applies.

So, all together, I don’t think the logic that exploring puts one more at risk due to the Dark Forest hypothesis actually works on analysis. In terms of existential attacks, it may actually make a species more safe.

Other than that we most likely won’t be around to have that conversation by that time, so may as well have it now. :slight_smile:

I can’t say I disagree, but I reserve the right to change my mind if and when we actually get the capability.

So, that’s another argument against the idea that civs are out there, hiding. Not only can we make the assumption that we are not hidden, but we can also make the assumption that, even if we were not hidden, then no one would want to wipe us out.

But, this is all based on the info that we currently have. What happens if, when our next generation, or the generation after that, space telescopes come online, and looking out, we see clear evidence of stars being used to power interstellar lasers and worlds that have been burnt to a crisp?

Do we still try to hide, or do we try to fight back?

Downside of exploring is drawing the wrong kind of attention.

If we are just sending probes through other solar system to see what’s there, then maybe no big deal.

But if we start using Von Neumann self replicating probes, someone may get offended over us using their resources.

We may not even recognize that there is life on a world, much less intelligence, if it is alien enough to us. Perhaps they are super intelligent, but also fairly sedentary, and have no use or desire for expansion into space. That is until some piece of alien kit lands on their world and starts mining it in order to replicate itself.

I can see a situation where Von Neumann machines basically become a galactic disease, infecting and ruining worlds and solar systems. At a certain point, a civ may want to start going right to the source of these infections.

One of the campaign settings that I used for an RPG was a bit like that. The backdrop of the galaxy’s history was that a pacifist civ kept getting “attacked” by these self replicating probes, and had a hell of a time trying to contain them. Ended up not sterilizing worlds, but containing them. Tossing gravel balls into their solar systems to create essentially a solar system wide kessler syndrome, discouraging space travel, but still allowing life to develop more or less normally on the planet.

Bit of a form of the “zoo hypothesis” I hadn’t seen before. Not that there is a wide ranging conspiracy to prevent alien cultures from contacting us, but just that they have put up “bars” around all the planets that could be life bearing.