While I readily admit the inexorable fell logic of John C Wright’s Space Princess Corollary to the Drake Equation, I feel sadly compelled to exhume and add the even more scientific Lex Luther Theorem, as we’ve discussed here before and as revised to be even more scientifilicious:
FR = percentage of a population that is Filthy Rich, here determined to mean ‘worth $1B or more’;
SS = percentage of a population that’s super Smart, here using a 200 IQ as the cut-off;
HS = percentage of a population that are homicidal sociopaths;
Now, it should be clear that FR * SS * HS * Total Population = the probable number of super genius homicidal billionaires in a population at any one time. (1) If the number falls below 1 for a given population at a given time, it’s only a matter of time before one arises as people die and are born – Total Population can be viewed as all the people who ever lived over a long enough period of time.
A Filthy Rich Super Smart Homicidal Sociopath has the means and the motive to exterminate life on earth – or on any other planet where intelligent life arises – based on exactly the same logic Mr. Wright laid out above. One must conclude that, Nature being Nature everywhere, it’s only a matter of time before not only a FRSSHS arises, but a FRSSHS Space Princess arises! How ’bout them apples? Of course, Mr. Wright, it would seem, has already met several alluring young things that meet this description. In short: We’re doomed.
Finally, we have:
CA – chance that a FRSSHS will succeed in his attempts to Completely Annihilate everybody. So:
FR * SS * HS * Total Population over time * CA = chances all intelligent life on a planet will get exterminated. We could divide by time, and determine exactly how long, on average, an intelligent species will exist before a FRSSHS Space Princess arises and kills them all off.
The beauty here, as opposed to Drake Equation, is that we’re making (almost) no baseless assumptions: there really are billionaires, sociopaths and super geniuses walking the planet as we speak – something like a 1,000 billionaires, several thousand super geniuses and tens of millions of sociopaths. And I’d propose that CA (success rate of our FRSSHS) approaches 1 as technology improves – engineer a virus, burn off the atmosphere, poison the oceans – these are now pretty imaginable steps a sufficiently smart, rich and crazy man could take.
See how tidy and all-explaining this is, how logically rigorous? It does not deny the Drake equation, yet explains Fermi’s Paradox – and casts a doomed pall over all human life! Damn, I just love science!
1. Just in case some pedantic statistician (Flynn) drops in – yes, we’re assuming the variables are uncorrelated, for the simple practical reason that this is a blog post and I’ve long forgotten the math needed to tidy it up, if I ever knew it.