The Drake Equation is an arbitrary determination of how likely non-terrestrial life is to exist in the universe.
It is over 55 years old and has been used for decades by the mainstream science crowd to scoff at the notion of life evolving outside our planet.
By arbitrary, I mean that some of the factors in the equation, such as L for the longevity of any given ET race, is made up.
Scientists have no way to tell how long a civilization will last because we’ve “never encountered one before,” so they made an educated guess about what that number might be, hence arbitrary.
|Image Source. The Drake Equation.|
In other words, the Drake Equation is a type of scientifically derived myth—one of many on our world—that claims humanity is the only civilization the entire universe has ever produced. Considering the sheer size of the cosmos, of billions of galaxies, each with billions of stars, it seems a bit short-sighted to say we are the only civilization to emerge.
But with the discovery of an increasing number of exoplanets over the past 10 years, scientists are now realizing that the equation needs to change.
Adam Frank is a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester who helped co-author a paper proposing changes to the Drake Equation, which incorporate Kepler’s exoplanet observations. The team revised the framework of several factors so that instead of asking how likely is it that ET civilizations exist, it instead asks how likely is it that our civilization is the only one to have existed.
An advanced alien civilization DID exist before us: Scientists update prediction of alien life using latest Kepler exoplanet data
- Equation estimates number of intelligent civilizations in the universe
- But it’s 55 years old, and doesn’t include new information from probes
- Study added data from Nasa’s Kepler satellite on habitable exoplanets
- Found odds of advanced civilization developing need to be less than one in 10 billion trillion for humans to be the only intelligent life in the universe