The Drake Equation, and How it’s Being Used.

June 17, 2016 | By | 5 Comments

On June 10th, 2016, the New York Times ran an article, “Yes, There Have Been Aliens” written by Adam Frank, which referred to his technical article released back in May of this year. His article, “A New Empirical Constraint on the Prevalence of Technological Species in the Universe” (whew, long title) was written by him and W.T. Sullivan III, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

Adam Frank, New York Times article:

In a paper published in the May issue of the journal Astrobiology, the astronomer Woodruff Sullivan and I show that while we do not know if any advanced extraterrestrial civilizations currently exist in our galaxy, we now have enough information to conclude that they almost certainly existed at some point in cosmic history.

From a UFOlogy point of view this is great news, science acknowledging advanced extraterrestrial life existed some point in the cosmic history. Where the confusion arises from this article is, well they existed at one time, but not now?

Generally the science side of UFOlogy has always relied on the Drake Equation to determine how much intelligent life could exist outside our planet. The equation which was established back in 1961 by astronomer Frank Drake, consists of seven factors to conclude the abundance of life in the universe, and every year, almost monthly, new information about the cosmos changes the outcome of this equation.

Wikipedia: The Drake Equation:

N = R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fc • L where:

N = The number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible.
R* = The average rate of star formation in our galaxy.
fp = The fraction of those stars that have planets.
ne = The average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets.
fl = The fraction of planets that could support life that actually develop life at some point.
fi = The fraction of planets with life that actually go on to develop intelligent life. (civilizations)
fc = The fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space.
L = The length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space.

On January 9th, 2015, an article “Here’s How Many Intelligent Alien Civilizations Might Live In Our Galaxy”, ran on

Article segment written by Andy Kiersz and Jessica Orwig: (using the Drake Equation)

The total number of civilizations that we calculate relies very heavily on our assumptions. Our optimistic estimates suggest a fairly crowded galaxy, with around 140,000 species like us living in the Milky Way. Turn the inputs down a couple orders of magnitude, as we do in our pessimistic assumptions, and life is so rare that only around 1% of galaxies like our own will be likely to host even one complex civilization.

So using the Drake Equation they estimated 140,000 species like ours exists in our Milky Way Galaxy, but they can’t deal with those numbers, why? Because they can’t prove it and it confuses them, so they throw in a “pessimistic” or worst case scenario. The worst case scenario in this instance is the (.01) number, which now means only 1% of galaxies like our own will have intelligent life. In other words, they use the Drake Equation, then challenge it with their own personal assumptions.

Both articles, the one from, and the technical article from Adam Frank from May of 2016, used the Drake Equation as a starting point, then end up using and assumed [.01]. Why? Because as far as they know, there’s only one intelligent life in our galaxy that exists, and that’s us. But the Frank and Sullivan technical article goes one step farther into the bliss of ET existence.

Quote from Adam Frank’s technical article:

We first modify the Drake equation in order to address how many technological species have formed over the history of the observable Universe. We call this number A (for archeology) and use it to investigate the probability that humanity is unique (i.e., A = 1). Note that we are explicitly not concerned with the average lifetime Lof such species or if they still exist such that we could receive their signals or signal them.

They redefined the Drake Equation and added an “A-form” which is a conservative value ensuring that Earth is the only location in history of the cosmos where technological civilization has ever evolved. Why? Because they only understand what they can see, and what they can’t see or don’t understand, doesn’t exist.

Their equation:

A= [ N fp np][ fl fi ft] = Nast fbt

N = The total number of stars.

fp = Fraction of those stars that form planets.

np = Average number of planets in habitable zone.

fl = Habitable zone planet develops life.

fi = Probability that a planet with intelligent life.

ft = Probability that a planet with intelligent life developed technology.

Nast = Includes all factors involving astrophysics and represents the total number of habitable zone planets.

fbt = Biology, evolution and planetary sociology.

They also claim the part of the equation fbt = [ fl fi ft] is uncertain because we have no theory to guide any estimates and we only have one occurrence of life, intelligence and technology, us. So, they leave fbt as statistically unknown at this time which can change based on one’s pessimism or optimism, or opinion?

Quote from Adam Frank’s technical article:

We now turn to the specific question, “Has even one other technological species ever existed in the observable Universe?” We take N*[N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible ] = 2 × 1022 for the total number of stars in the observable Universe (Silburt et al., 2015) To address our question, A is set to a conservative value ensuring that Earth is the only location in the history of the cosmos where a technological civilization has ever evolved. Adopting A = 0.01 means that in a statistical sense were we to rerun the history of the Universe 100 times, only once would a lone technological species occur…

Ok, as far as I’m concerned, this where their equation failed. It’s when they introduce the variable A. This variable is based on re-running the history of our Universe 100 times in a statistical sense, with only a one chance a single technological species could occur.

Well I took Statistic Analysis too in college, and learned, “Since we have no idea what exactly makes up our universe, the “A” variable involving re-running the totality our universe 100 times is so great, that it cannot be calculated, yet even be understood by modern-day science.”

Now to give the writers of the article some credit, I understand what they’re trying to do, they need to set a base-line on what they know. But it’s still based on illogical thinking, that if our universe re-ran 100 times, only one species would pop up. (Of course us.)

Now I can play this game too! So if I remove their illogical “A” variable which re-runs our universe 100 times and technical life only shows up once, then this would changed their initial equation from:

f_bt = A/N_ast = 0.01/4×10(21) = 2.5×10(-24)


f_bt = N_ast = 4×10(21)

Oh oh, a positive number equates, 4×10 (21) or a lot of positive zeros. Which means now they’re base equation comes out quite positive pertaining to the possibility of technological life existing in our galaxy.

Discussions and Conclusions quote from Adam Frank’s technical article:

With our approach we have, for the first time, provided a quantitative and empirically constrained limit on what it means to be pessimistic about the likelihood of another technological species ever having arisen in the history of the Universe.

First off, no you haven’t. What you’ve done is created a worst case scenario based on a complete unknown of infinite possibilities about our galaxy!

I knew when I read Adam Frank’s article back in May, that it was confusing, and sure enough it was. Media picked it up and said “Hey”, “Based on these two guys, advanced civilizations existed in our galaxy, but not anymore?” “Just us?” So sad to be all alone in the vast cosmos…

This is my input to some of the Science Community that makes up this cra#, uh… stuff.

  1. Why flip the universe 100 times thinking only one technological species was created? Hey, how about not flipping it at all and starting here. Oh oh, you get [1] not [.01] as your baseline. You know at least this is correct.
  2. What the hell! Why do you always think all species everywhere evolve or have evolved like us? We are not the best example of evolution. If humanity wasn’t so focused on greed, or conquering each other, or which God is more important, then maybe we would have focused more on exploration and our planet’s environment? What if the Roman Catholic Church hadn’t chastised Copernicus back in 1473 when he developed the celestial model of our planetary system? He knew the Earth was not the center of our solar system, yet he was banned from saying it. What if they embraced it? Where would we be now with a few hundred year advantage?


( I had to put that in caps, because some people just never seem to “get it”.)

To think all species in the Galaxy evolve the same way is not statistically possible! Maybe more people who think this way should spend a couple of days in Las Vegas and see for themselves, that the same number doesn’t come up every damn time on the Roulette Wheel! Well unless it’s rigged, and who’s trying to rig it? Maybe some scientists?

You guys seriously need a “Time Out” to re-think reality.

Anyway, a thought about both article’s authors:

I wonder what A. Frank and W.T. Sullivan III or Andy Kiersz and Jessica Orwig would do, if they saw what thousands of people all over the world have seen and still see today? Balls of light intelligently controlled since (at least) the 1940’s, (ie. Foo Fighters), small UFO-like craft mentioned through-out our history, like the Vimanas of ancient India; And the extremely large delta/triangular-shaped craft defying our laws of physics being seen today, that quite possibly be using the same alien technology public science is unaware of. (I say public science, because there are scientists out there that really know what’s going on here.)

Would the authors of those articles say, “Oh Shit, back to the drawing board?” Or would drinking a bottle of whiskey in a dark corner of the house with feverishly shaking hands, be suffice?

Thank you to the writers of both articles for giving me the opportunity to respond to your work, at least your thinking about the possibility of intelligent life existing outside this planet, and that’s a start. 🙂

Links to articles:

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Category: The Z-Files

About the Author ()

For the past 28 years Chuck has been researching and investigating the UFO/Paranormal phenomenon. Chuck approaches his investigations with an analytical understanding, making sure to address all human known possibilities before venturing into the non-human or paranormal aspects of the sightings. (TV Shows in which Chuck's investigations have been featured on:) *2002, The Roswell Crash, Startling New Evidence: Documentary Sci-Fi Channel *2006, Sci Fi Investigates: Episode 5, The Roswell episode, Sci-Fi Channel *2009, Primetime: Outsiders, with Juju Chang, Alien Abductions, NBC *2010, SyFy Fact or Faked: Episode 6, San Luis Cattle Mutilation, SyFy Channel *2011, Chasing UFO’s, Episode 3, Alien Cowboys, San Luis Cattle Mutilation, Nat Geo *2013, Finding Bigfoot, Bailey Colorado episode, Animal Planet

Comments (5)

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  1. Seeker Knowledge says:


    Thank you for the opportunity to read your material.

    I have been reading your site for some time and not exactly sure why the articles or incidents are not put into exact content. Example, most information is written as though people are not sure what really occurred, or perhaps conjecture is being shared.

    If possible please elaborate on these findings. Have you acknowledged that “ET’s” exist or not? Have you personally had contact with those of higher intelligence? If so is it possible to share these experiences with your readers? Has mental or physical contact with benevolent beings been made? We are constantly told that these type of beings “Do not exist”.

    Perhaps their are many that are open minded, such as myself. I understand that some people have been abducted and visited through dreams etc. I am intrigued and find your site fascinating. Please elaborate where or if possible. Thank you for your time and consideration.

    • Chuck Zukowski says:

      The issue is always been trying to find substantial evidence of ET existence. We have more than enough eye witness accounts, all different types of photos, and some very good material evidence, but we’re still looking for that one piece of evidence that will shock the world. So have I ever personally been in contact with aliens? One would have to define “contact”. 🙂
      Thank you for your comment.

  2. Seeker says:

    Chuck, I have been considering your remark “Shock the world”. Perhaps “Shock” is a phrase they may not wish to incorporate with them. Perhaps a different approach mentally and emotionally may encourage a better response from “Them”. Beings of higher intelligence would certainly be aware of human intentions perhaps before humans.

    It is just an observation on my part. However, this observation and practice may assist you in your venture. After all should a higher intelligent race exist it would make sense to approach this from an enlightened perspective.

    Please forgive me, I am only offering an alternate path. I truly encourage your endeavor and again find this subject more intriguing than I can put into words. I mean no disrespect to you or your staff.

    I look forward to your findings.


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