Daily Archives: November 8th, 2007

Michio Kaku, Inheritor of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos

Michio Kaku is an enchanting television personality. A real life physicist at the City University of New York, he is very much a celebrity as telegenic as any Brittany Spears, Peyton Manning or recently retired Bob Barker. He has made many appearances on the Discovery and Science Channels in a variety of topics, bringing science to the everyman/woman in a very down to Earth level.

But unknown to the public at large, Dr. Kaku believes in the existence of galactic super-civilizations:

“Soon, humanity may face an existential shock as we discover Earth-sized twins of our planet orbiting nearby solar systems. This may usher in a new era in our relationship with the universe, so that we will never see the night sky in the same way. Realizing that scientists may eventually compile an encyclopedia identifying the precise coordinates of perhaps hundreds of Earth-like planets, gazing at the night sky, we will forever after wonder if someone is gazing back at us.”

Kaku takes up where some/one of the world’s pioneer astronomers left off with a definition of civilizations in the universe that mimics the work of Russian astrophysicist Kardashev. Inspired at the age of five by a Moscow Planetariumshow about Giordano Bruno,  Kardashev definined three levels of advanced civilizations based on how they harness energy to fuel their societies. All three categories of civilizations, even the most advanced Type III, would still be bound by the laws of physics thatallow us to predict the behavior of the universe from the subatomic world to the large-scale structure of the universe, through a staggering 43 orders of magnitude (a factor of 10 million billion billion billion billion).

Kardashev’s definition of a Type I Civilization,”…a planetary culture capable of utilizing the entire energy output of a whole planet…” reminds me of the steps we are currently taking to control our planets’ weather and overall climate using geo-engineering  . We are not yet a Type I civilization, but the powers that be seem to want us to head that way.

Thus Kaku in my view is the present spokesman of what I call the Cosmos culture, a belief that human beings are but waifs in the wilderness. Carl Sagan had a feel for this when he said, “What does it mean for a civilization to be a million years old? We have had radio telescopes and spaceships for a few decades; our technical civilization is a few hundred years old … an advanced civilization millions of years old is as much beyond us as we are beyond a bushbaby or a macaque.”

Is this an explanation of Fermi’s Paradox? Are we simply just “unnoticable” because such beings are as gods?

In the immediate future, that could be a good thing.

Michio Kaku’s Civilizations of the Cosmos