Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||One might think that since life here on Earth has survived for nearly 4 Gyr (Gigayears), such catastrophic events must be extremely rare. Unfortunately, such an argument is flawed, giving us a false sense of security. It fails to take into account the observation selection effect [6, 7] that precludes any observer from observing anything other than that their own species has survived up to the point where they make the observation. Even if the frequency of cosmic catastrophes were very high, we should still expect to find ourselves on a planet that had not yet been destroyed. The fact that we are still alive does not even seem to rule out the hypothesis that the average cosmic neighborhood is typically sterilized by vacuum decay, say, every 10000 years, and that our own planet has just been extremely lucky up until now|
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