What is the “Black Forest” hypothesis? Science responds!

For some time now, the extraterrestrial theme has become one of the most talked about topics among conspiracists and more skeptical scientists; while some think they are coming, others think they don't exist. But there are also those who believe that the answer is much more complicated than just 'it exists or it doesn't exist', perhaps alien life is a big dilemma even for the E.Ts themselves.

In 1950, Italian physicist Enrico Fermi commented on a theory called the Fermi Paradox. The paradox points out that the existence of extraterrestrials in the universe is a contradiction, after all, If humanity already has so much technology and has lived in society for so long, why haven't we found any type of life outside of Earth until now?? Nobody knows.

It is important to highlight that the Fermi Paradox is just one of the theories about why humanity has not encountered any alien beings, even with so many telescopes and space missions. For example, the Dark Forest hypothesis suggests that this may occur for a much darker reason than we might imagineperhaps even more haunting than the idea of ​​being completely alone in the universe.

We still don't know if aliens really exist, but Dark Forest proposes that they are hiding from humanity. To explain a little more about the subject, TecMundo gathered information from experts in the area.

What is the Black Forest?

The Dark Forest Hypothesis was first cited in author Liu Cixin's trilogy of science fiction books, more specifically in the second book, called 'The Dark Forest' — the trilogy is called Three-Body Problem. In it, the writer suggests that perhaps the reason we haven't encountered any aliens yet is because they are hiding from humanity.

During the story told in the book, a sociology professor, a former astronomer and the mother of a dead character discuss this possibility. According to the professor, possible societies with intelligent life will always strive to stay alive and, unfortunately, there is no way of knowing whether they are benevolent or have intentions of exterminating other beings.

If aliens really exist, why hasn't humanity found them yet?  The Dark Forest Hypothesis can answer this question.If aliens really exist, why hasn't humanity found them yet? The Dark Forest Hypothesis can answer this question.Source: Getty Images

Even in the case of a non-hostile civilization, the universe offers limited resources and this could cause conflicts with other societies that need these resources. Because of these hostile possibilities, the book proposes that all intelligent civilizations can follow the safest path to ensure their survival.

This means that any other type of intelligent life could pose a real danger and therefore they must eliminate them. But this does not mean that all extraterrestrials waged wars among each other and exterminated themselves, especially since humanity is still here. Perhaps, they are all hidden.

“The universe is a dark forest. Every civilization is an armed hunter lurking among the trees like a ghost, delicately pushing aside the branches that block the path and trying to step without making a sound. Even breathing is done carefully. The hunter needs to be cautious, because everywhere in the forest there are poachers like him. If he encounters another life form — be it another hunter, an angel or a demon, a delicate child or a shambling old man, a fairy or a demigod — there is only one thing he can do: open fire and eliminate them.” is described in a passage in the book.

Explanation for the Fermi Paradox

The Dark Forest hypothesis explains that, if there really are several alien civilizations with the mission of exterminating their possible enemies, It is possible that other types of intelligent life are hiding so as not to be noticed and thus avoid being eliminated. In other words, the theory suggests that perhaps there are different types of aliens present in the universe, but that they are all hiding out of fear.

I propose that we carry out a mental experiment to understand a little more about the subject. Imagine that you are in a completely dark forest full of dangers, but you hear a noise coming from somewhere in that forest. You probably wouldn't check out what the noise is for fear of it being a real danger.

In this case, the dark forest would be the universe, and the noise would be caused by another type of intelligent life. Therefore, the most 'correct' thing to do would be to remain hidden in the forest to avoid any dangerous situation that could exterminate your civilization.

The Arecibo message is just one of the examples that we are doing the complete opposite of what the Black Forest Hypothesis proposes; In 1974, astronomers and planetary scientists Frank Drake and Carl Sagan participated in the Arecibo program to transmit a message to a possible extraterrestrial civilization. Sent via a radio signal, the broadcast described some important information about Earth and humanity, including the planet's address, data about human DNA and other details.

“In this forest, hell is other people. An eternal threat that any life that exposes its own existence will be quickly exterminated. This is the picture of cosmic civilization. It is the explanation for the Fermi Paradox,” the book describes.

Did you like the content? So, stay up to date with more curiosities about life beyond Earth here at TecMundo. If you wish, take the opportunity to understand what the Wow signal has to do with aliens.

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