- #1

dkotschessaa

- 1,060

- 783

The Drake equation is typically used in the sense of the question, "Is there life in the universe, and what is the probability that WE can detect/find/communicate with it?"

In other words the underlying assumption is that we know that we are here, but we don't now if anybody else is out there. And we are very far from pretty much anything. We are not likely to communicate or have a relationship with another civilization.

What if we change the question a bit and ask "are there any two civilizations (besides us) out there who have communicated with each other?"

In other words - the law of large numbers tells us that events, even improbable ones, are more likely to happen given more "trials." So the "improbable event" of intelligent life evolving (we have seen it happen at least once) has "probably" happened elsewhere, given that the universe is so large.

Now what about the probability of it happening 3 times - two of them "not us."

And the probability of them being in some vicinity where they might actually have a chance at communicating with each other (though not with us). The best scenario would of course be two planets in the same solar system. If we had "martians" this would have been us by now.

Now is this more probable or less probable than then the event in which we ourselves contact another civilization?

Of course all these numbers are speculation... The drake equation is probably more a philosophical equation than a real calculation, but I was wondering if the question has been put this way before.

-Dave K