Explanation of potential problem:

We're not completely sure exactly how unlikely an event Abiogenesis was, given both the extreme unlikelihood of nucleotides randomly assembling into anything making sense and the vastness of primordial ocean and extent of time it existed. And still, despite their vastness, when involved with probabilistic chain of events we're quickly getting numbers by which planetary scale pales.

It may very well be that the event was unlikely enough to be nearly impossible not only on the planetary scale, but even on the galactic scale - or even on scale of the observable universe.

My proposed solution to this problem:

Regardless, with the actual universe being infinite, it would be bound to happen somewhere. Still, occurrences of life could be separated by many times the width of observable universe, and none of them could ever contact another.

...which would offer a possible explanation to the Fermi Paradox.

Does my proposed solution address the problem I outlined above, or is there a flaw in my reasoning/understanding?

  • $\begingroup$ If I read Fermi's mind correctly he reasoned that a significant portion of the star systems in the observable universe is at least billions of years older and however slow their technology is progressing they should have achieved interstellar in a million year time so where's everybody? (Assuming Earth is a typical planet.) $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Nov 10, 2017 at 10:24
  • $\begingroup$ @user6760: Yes, assuming both Earth, with its turbulent origins, is a typical planet, and that both abiogenesis and evolution of intelligent life are reasonably common on such planets. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Nov 10, 2017 at 10:44
  • $\begingroup$ There are a couple of good videos on YouTube relating to this subject, but I'd suggest this video on the PBS Space Time channel on this subject. $\endgroup$ Nov 10, 2017 at 12:02
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    $\begingroup$ The Fermi Paradox is all dependent on the terms of the Drake equation. Any of the terms can be a significant limiting factor except now we know the terms for planet formation is pretty high. If I would have to guess, the limit of going from Prokaryotes to Eukaryotes and going from single to multicellular life and then developing enough intelligence would be the biggest limiting factors, all of which is grouped into a single term in the drake equation. $\endgroup$ Nov 10, 2017 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


The true explanation to the Fermi paradox is not known. There is a very long list of proposed explanations, some of which are listed here:


What you're saying is literally the first one on the list, also known as the Rare Earth hypothesis.


  • $\begingroup$ That's a very nice summary of possibilities by Wikipedia. $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Nov 10, 2017 at 21:39

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