"It has often been said that, if the human species
fails to make a go of it here on Earth, some
other species will take over the running. In the
sense of developing high intelligence this is not
correct. We have, or soon will have, exhausted
the necessary physical prerequisites so far as this
planet is concerned. With coal gone, oil gone,
high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however
competent can make the long climb from primitive
conditions to high-level technology. This is a
one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system
fails so far as intelligence is concerned. The same
will be true of other planetary systems. On each
of them there will be one chance, and one chance

-- Sir Fred Hoyle, "Of Men and Galaxies," 1964 --


The Great Filter

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