“Rare Earth” Solves the Fermi Paradox + Earth is Likely the Only Civilization in the Observable Universe

18 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2022


The Fermi Paradox: the contradiction between quintillions of nearby habitable planets and zero evidence of any extraterrestrial civilization’s radio signals. Rather than speculating, this paper investigates the most probable reason for the lack of evidence: there are no civilizations in our vicinity, because civilization is extremely rare (Rare Earth Hypothesis). By using a novel statistical technique known as the “~30% rule”, this paper will further investigate 3 specific “Rare Earth events” that are generally highly unlikely to occur, and definitely necessary for civilization to exist. If we estimate the probabilities of “rare earth events” that follow the “30% rule”, we can use the principle of mediocrity to get a generalized probability range for the existence of civilization in the universe. This paper uses this idea, and current scientific knowledge and data, to estimate the probability of all “rare earth events”, and comes to the conclusion that civilization is at least 1 in (3.9 * 10^42) star systems, making earth likely the only civilization in the observable universe.

Keywords: Extinction Event, Fermi Paradox, Theia's collision, Rare-earth hypothesis

Suggested Citation

Soffa Clarke, Jobe, “Rare Earth” Solves the Fermi Paradox + Earth is Likely the Only Civilization in the Observable Universe. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4291769 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4291769

Jobe Soffa Clarke (Contact Author)

University of San Diego ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

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