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People terrified by Dark Forest Hypothesis which explains why we've never met aliens
Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

People terrified by Dark Forest Hypothesis which explains why we've never met aliens

It's one possible answer to the Fermi Paradox, and is pretty scary

People are losing their minds over the Dark Forest Hypothesis - a seriously creepy explanation of why aliens have never visited Earth.

Since the universe is so massive - about 94 billion light years in diameter if you were wondering - it stands to reason that Earth isn’t the only planet with intelligent life.

Though some scientists believe aliens have actually visited Earth, and several people have testified to Congress they’ve seen evidence of alien life, most people think we’ve never had the pleasure of interstellar company.

So… where are the little green men?

This problem actually has a name - the Fermi Paradox - after Nobel prize-winner Enrico Fermi.

During a fateful lunch in 1950, Fermi apparently wondered aloud why, considering our solar system is quite young in the grand scheme of things and long-distance interstellar travel should likely be possible given enough time for technology to develop, no UFOs had popped by.

Several people have tried to answer this question.

One theory is that before a civilization reaches the point where it can travel long distances in space, it collapses due to issues of overpopulation and energy consumption.

That doesn’t sound great for the future of Earth, but someone has come up with an even scarier hypothesis.

Wondering why things haven't got a bit Independence Day so far?
20th Century Studios

The basic theory has been around for a while, but earned the ‘dark forest’ moniker based on a passage from the book The Dark Forest by Chinese novelist Liu Cixin.

Get ready to feel some chills.

This is how a sociologist character in the book describes the theory: “The universe is a dark forest. Every civilization is an armed hunter stalking through the trees like a ghost, gently pushing aside branches that block the path and trying to tread without sound. Even breathing is done with care.

“The hunter has to be careful, because everywhere in the forest are stealthy hunters like him. If he finds other life—another hunter, an angel or a demon, a delicate infant or a tottering old man, a fairy or a demigod—there’s only one thing he can do: open fire and eliminate them.

Wished you'd never learnt about the Dark Forest Hypothesis now, right?
Getty Stock Images

“In this forest, hell is other people. An eternal threat that any life that exposes its own existence will be swiftly wiped out. This is the picture of cosmic civilization. It’s the explanation for the Fermi Paradox.”


And people were supremely creeped out by the hypothesis.

One X user wrote: “Imagine what we do to animals. Now imagine there's an alien civilization out there ready to do the same to us.

“Our worry is that alien civilizations are just as bad as ours.”

Another wrote: “I love this hypothesis because then amidst all of the silent advanced civilizations, there’s Earth, stumbling around loudly, sending out disco music and pictures of our junk.”

Sweet dreams, folks.

Topics: Aliens, UFO, Science