Nature 434, 1067 (28 April 2005) | doi:10.1038/4341067c; Published online 27 April 2005

Nice planet, shame about the human race

Randall D. Kamien1 & Madhuri Kaul1

  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, 209 South 33rd Street, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104, USA


Inspired by Stephen Baxter's Futures story "Under martian ice" (Nature 433, 668; 2005), we began to discuss the Fermi paradox: that if aliens exist, they would have visited everywhere by now, including Earth. Careful consideration led us to conclude that if they were intelligent, they would not visit this planet.

Thus — and in opposition to the anthropic principle, which argues that the Universe is the way it is because we are here to observe it — we propose the misanthropic principle as the resolution of the puzzle.