In this essay, I will argue that the analysis of Sandberg et al. is flawed in a number of key respects, and as a result the Fermi Paradox remains an open question. Here I briefly list the key problems with the Sandberg et al. paper, before proceeding to discuss each in more detail.
- The method used of multiplying uncertainties of many small numbers, most of which have an upper bound of one, is biased towards yielding a result of a high probability of Earth being unique, while also leading to various dubious results.
- The key result of the paper is driven largely by uncertainty in the parameter fl, which is modeled in an unusual way without clear justification.
- Adoption of slightly different (and I believe more plausible) modelling choices and parameter values yields totally different results, which do not result in the Fermi paradox being dissolved. I illustrate this by re-estimating the Sandberg et al. models using different parameters and modelling assumptions.
This is a linkpost for https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/kvZshdx5FzTPjyhxG/the-fermi-paradox-has-not-been-dissolved