archive: Re: SETI The Drake Equation - Probability One

Re: SETI The Drake Equation - Probability One

Brian Straight ( (no email) )
Tue, 18 May 1999 16:13:08 -0500

This book will definitely be on my bookshelf. Thanks for the tip, Larry.

<ramble mode on>

As someone new to seti--at least in the sense of gaining knowledge through
active involvement--could anyone tell me the extent to which terms in the
Drake Equation take into account the psychosocial aspects of the development
of a technological society? From the one example we know, I would guess
that an important impetus to the development of technology is the relative
maladaption of the organism to its environment (humans, even from the
earliest hominid ancestors, seem to have adapted their environment to
themselves through technology (clothes, fire, tools, etc.) rather than
adapting to it biologically. This element (the survival of the maladapted)
seems critical to the development of technological intelligence

This technological bias must then institutionalised (by philosophy or
religion), before the benefits of technology per se become a major
ideological goal for such a civilization (for example, Greek Science vs. The
Dark Ages; certain Judaeo-Christian models where the earth is seen to be be
something to be subjugated, vs. more contemplative Eastern Ideologies).

>From perspective of such 'accidents' of history and biology, technological
civilizations may be rare indeed.

What I'm wondering is: does the Drake equation take account of such
factors? I can imagine many worlds where intelligent life has evolved in
harmony with its environment (much as dolphins and whales have here), and
where the need for technology has not arisen.

<ramble mode off>


-----Original Message-----
From: Larry Klaes <>
To: <>; <>
Date: Tuesday, May 18, 1999 3:18 PM
Subject: SETI The Drake Equation - Probability One

>If you want a mathematician's view on The Drake
>Equation, I highly recommend this book:
>Probability 1: Why There Must Be Intelligent Life in the Universe
> by Amir D. Aczel
> Harcourt Brace, 1998
> hardcover, 230pp., illus.
> ISBN 0-15-100376-9
> US$22/C$31
>See this review: